United States of America v. State of California et al

Filing 163

ORDER signed by District Judge John A. Mendez on 6/4/2018 DENYING 59 Motion to Intervene by County of Orange and Sandra Hutchens. County of Orange and Sandra Hutchens may file an amici curiae brief by 6/12/2018. (Donati, J)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 11 EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 12 13 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, 14 2:18-cv-490-JAM-KJN Plaintiff, 15 16 No. v. STATE OF CALIFORNIA, et al., 17 ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR LEAVE TO INTERVENE BY COUNTY OF ORANGE AND SANDRA HUTCHENS Defendants. 18 The County of Orange (“Orange County”) and Sandra Hutchins 19 20 (“Hutchins”), Sheriff-Coroner for the County of Orange, 21 (collectively “Proposed Intervenors”) filed a Motion to Intervene 22 in this matter pending between the United States and the State of 23 California. 24 intervene as plaintiffs. 25 No. 148. 26 expressed no opinion as to intervention as of right. 27 154. 28 /// ECF No. 59. Orange County and Hutchins seeks to California opposes intervention. ECF The United States supports permissive intervention, but ECF No. For the reasons set forth below, Proposed Intervenors’ 1 1 motion is DENIED. 1 2 3 I. 4 BACKGROUND The United States filed suit against the State of 5 California, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., and Attorney General 6 Xavier Becerra (collectively “California”) on March 6, 2018, 7 seeking a declaration invalidating, and a preliminary and 8 permanent injunction enjoining, certain parts of Senate Bill 54 9 (“SB 54”), Assembly Bill 450 (“AB 450”), and Assembly Bill 103 10 (“AB 103”). 11 for preliminary injunction. 12 opposition to that motion and a motion to dismiss on May 4, 2018. 13 ECF Nos. 74 & 77. 14 parties have litigated discovery matters, undertaken expedited 15 discovery, and participated in multiple discovery conferences. 16 ECF Nos. 20, 21, 22, 26, 28, 84, 95, 100, 118, & 157. 17 filed a motion to transfer venue to the Northern District of 18 California, which the Court denied on March 29, 2018. 19 18 & 39. 20 twenty-three amicus and amici curiae briefs have been filed. 21 Nos. 43, 44, 48, 55–57, 104, 112, & 126–140. 22 Compl., ECF No. 1. It concurrently filed a motion ECF No. 2. California filed its Since the United States filed suit, the California ECF Nos. By consent of the parties or the Court’s permission, ECF Proposed Intervenors filed their motion for leave to 23 intervene on April 20, 2018. ECF No. 59. They seek to intervene 24 in order to obtain a declaration invalidating, and orders 25 preliminarily and permanently enjoining, certain provisions of SB 26 27 28 1 This motion was determined to be suitable for decision without oral argument. E.D. Cal. L.R. 230(g). The hearing was scheduled for June 5, 2018. 2 1 54 and AB 103. 2 concern Orange County’s interests as a political subdivision of 3 California charged with upholding both state and federal law in 4 execution of its law enforcement and public safety functions. 5 Id. Mot. at 1. Their grounds for intervention 6 7 II. INTERVENTION AS OF RIGHT 8 A. Legal Standard 9 Proposed Intervenors contend that they are entitled to 10 intervene in this lawsuit as of right. 11 court must permit anyone to intervene who . . . claims an 12 interest relating to the property or transaction that is the 13 subject of the action, and is so situated that disposing of the 14 action may as a practical matter impair or impede the movant’s 15 ability to protect its interest, unless existing parties 16 adequately represent that interest.” 17 Courts in the Ninth Circuit apply a four part test to determine 18 whether such a motion should be granted: 19 20 21 22 “On timely motion, the Fed. R. Civ. P. 24(a). (1) the motion must be timely; (2) the applicant must claim a “significantly protectable” interest relating to the property or transaction which is the subject of the action; (3) the applicant must be so situated that the disposition of the action may as a practical matter impair or impede its ability to protect that interest; and (4) the applicant’s interest must be inadequately represented by the parties to the action. 23 24 Wilderness Soc. v. U.S. Forest Serv., 630 F.3d 1173, 1177 (9th 25 Cir. 2011) (quoting Sierra Club v. U.S. E.P.A., 995 F.2d 1478, 26 1481 (9th Cir. 1993)). 27 requirements is fatal to the application, and [the Court] need 28 not reach the remaining elements if one of the elements is not “Failure to satisfy any one of the 3 1 satisfied.” 2 947, 950 (9th Cir. 2009). Perry v. Proposition 8 Official Proponents, 587 F.3d 3 In determining the adequacy of representation, district 4 courts consider “whether the interest of a present party is such 5 that it will undoubtedly make all the intervenor’s arguments; 6 whether the present party is capable and willing to make such 7 arguments; and whether the intervenor would offer any necessary 8 elements to the proceedings that other parties would neglect.” 9 People of State of Cal. v. Tahoe Reg’l Planning Agency, 792 F.2d 10 775, 778 (9th Cir. 1986). “The ‘most important factor’ to 11 determine whether a proposed intervenor is adequately represented 12 by a present party to the action is ‘how the [intervenor’s] 13 interest compares with the interests of existing parties.’” 14 Perry, 587 F.3d at 950–51 (quoting Arakaki v. Cayetano, 324 F.3d 15 1078, 1086 (9th Cir. 2003)). 16 when the applicant and an existing party have the same ultimate 17 objective. 18 Latin Am. Citizens v. Wilson, 131 F.3d 1297, 1305 (9th Cir. 1997) 19 (“Under well-settled precedent in this circuit, where an 20 applicant for intervention and an existing party have the same 21 ultimate objective, a presumption of adequacy of representation 22 arises.”). 23 representation when the existing party is a government body 24 acting on behalf of its constituency. 25 (“There is also an assumption of adequacy when the government is 26 acting on behalf of a constituency that it represents.”). 27 each presumption, the applicant must make a compelling showing— 28 and in the case of government representation, a very compelling A presumption of adequacy arises Perry, 587 F.3d at 951; see also League of United Additionally, courts presume adequacy of 4 Arakaki, 324 F.3d at 1086 With 1 showing—that its interests are not adequately represented in 2 order to establish its right to intervene. Id. 3 B. Application 4 California argues that a heightened standard applies to 5 Proposed Intervenors’ motion because Proposed Intervenors share 6 the “same ultimate objective” as the United States. 7 6. 8 representation “in situations[,] such as here, where the federal 9 government purports to advance a congressional directive.” 10 Def. Opp. at It further argues that the Court may presume adequate Id. Proposed Intervenors argue that the United States does not 11 adequately represent its interests because its “interests in the 12 case are in regard to its status as a local government entity and 13 county law enforcement officer, and Proposed Intervenors are 14 specifically joining the case to address the constitutional and 15 public safety rights of their citizens.” 16 Additionally, they argue that they offer a materially different 17 perspective on the case because they have to deal with the actual 18 application of the state laws on the local level. 19 distinctions are enough, they contend, to meet the “minimal 20 showing” required to establish inadequate representation. 21 13. 22 Mot. at 12. Id. These Id. at Although applicants for intervention generally need only 23 make a “minimal showing” of inadequate representation, see Tahoe 24 Reg’l Planning Agency, 792 F.2d at 778, the burden is higher in 25 this case. 26 same “ultimate objective”: a judicial declaration that the 27 challenged laws are invalid and orders enjoining their 28 enforcement. Proposed Intervenors and the United States share the This fact is made evident by Proposed Intervenors’ 5 1 Complaint, which states the exact same claims and the same 2 prayers for relief as the United States’ Complaint (with the 3 omission of claims related to AB 450). 4 Complaint, ECF No. 59-2, at 16–17, with Complaint, ECF No. 1, 16– 5 18. 6 like the United States’ Complaint, similarly asserts that the 7 challenged laws are invalid under the Supremacy Clause. 8 their “ultimate objective” is identical, Proposed Intervenors 9 must make a compelling showing of inadequate representation in 10 11 Compare Proposed The Proposed Complaint contains no additional claims and, Because order to establish their right to intervene. Proposed Intervenors have not met their burden. They have 12 not identified any meritorious arguments that the United States 13 will fail to assert or will be precluded from making. 14 California ex rel. Lockyer v. United States, 450 F.3d 436, 444 15 (9th Cir. 2006) (“In order to make a ‘very compelling showing’ of 16 the government’s inadequacy, the proposed intervenor must 17 demonstrate a likelihood that the government will abandon or 18 concede a potentially meritorious reading of the statute.”). 19 Additionally, Proposed Intervenors have not identified any 20 necessary elements to the proceedings they could offer that the 21 United States would neglect. 22 impact the challenged laws have on Orange County’s operations, 23 the County’s experience offers little aid in resolving the purely 24 legal question at the center of this dispute: whether the 25 challenged laws violate the Supremacy Clause. 26 Hain Celestial Grp., 783 F.3d 753, 757 (9th Cir. 2015) 27 (describing preemption as a “purely legal question”). 28 Distinctly, nearly all of the cases Proposed Intervenors cite in See While the Court understands the 6 See Astiana v. 1 support of “inadequate representation” did not involve Supremacy 2 Clause claims. 2 3 for the Court to conclude the United States will not capably 4 litigate its perceived sovereign interests and thus adequately 5 represent Proposed Intervenors’ interests in turn. 6 from Religion Found., Inc., 644 F.3d at 841 (“This presumption of 7 adequacy is nowhere more applicable than in a case where the 8 Department of Justice deploys its formidable resources to defend 9 the constitutionality of a congressional enactment.”) (citations 10 See Mot. 12–13, Rep. at 2–4. There is no basis See Freedom omitted). 11 Given the absence of evidence to the contrary, the Court 12 finds the United States will adequately represent Proposed 13 Intervenors’ interests in this litigation. 14 to satisfy any one of the requirements is fatal to the 15 application,” the Court need not, and does not, address the 16 remaining elements. 17 Intervenors’ motion to intervene as of right is denied. Because the “failure See Perry, 587 F.3d at 950. Proposed 18 19 III. PERMISSIVE INTERVENTION 20 A. Legal Standard 21 Alternatively, Proposed Intervenors ask the Court to grant 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 2 The only cited case with a Supremacy Clause claim is of little instructive value because the decision contains nearly no analysis of the applicant’s right to intervene and predates recent authority applying the presumptions of adequacy. See Wash. State Bldg. & Const. Trades Council, AFL-CIO v. Spellman, 684 F.2d 627, 630 (9th Cir. 1982) (“Rule 24 traditionally has received a liberal construction in favor of applicants for intervention. DWW, as the public interest group that sponsored the initiative, was entitled to intervention as a matter of right under Rule 24(a).”). 7 1 them permissive intervention under Federal Rule of Civil 2 Procedure 24(b). 3 to intervene who is given a conditional right to intervene by a 4 federal statute; or has a claim or defense that shares with the 5 main action a common question of law or fact.” 6 24(b). 7 applicant for intervention shows (1) independent grounds for 8 jurisdiction; (2) the motion is timely; and (3) the applicant’s 9 claim or defense, and the main action, have a question of law or “On timely motion, the court may permit anyone Fed. R. Civ. P. “[A] court may grant permissive intervention where the 10 a question of fact in common.” 11 Glickman, 82 F.3d 825,839 (9th Cir. 1996). 12 Nw. Forest Res. Council v. “Even if an applicant satisfies those threshold 13 requirements, the district court has discretion to deny 14 permissive intervention.” 15 412 (9th Cir. 1998). 16 whether the movant’s ‘interests are adequately represented by 17 existing parties.’” 18 Cir. 1989) aff’d sub nom. Venegas v. Mitchell, 495 U.S. 82 19 (1990). 20 B. 21 The Court is compelled to deny Proposed Intervenors’ motion Donnelly v. Glickman, 159 F.3d 405, In doing so, the Court may again “evaluate Venegas v. Skaggs, 867 F.2d 527, 530 (9th Application 22 for permissive intervention for the same reasons Proposed 23 Intervenors may not intervene as of right. 24 shown the United States will not adequately represent their 25 interests in this litigation. 26 They simply have not The Court also finds the addition of Proposed Intervenors to 27 this lawsuit will contribute little to the resolution of the 28 claims. This lawsuit fundamentally concerns the relationship 8 1 between two sovereign entities: the United States and the State 2 of California. 3 questions. 4 as a “purely legal question”). 5 Intervenors could offer the Court on the legal issues could be 6 addressed through an amici curiae brief. 7 554 F.2d 947, 955 (9th Cir. 1977) (while litigation might benefit 8 from proposed intervenor’s knowledge of law and facts, “such 9 benefits might be obtained by an amicus brief rather than bought As noted above, the claims turn on legal See Astiana, 783 F.3d at 757 (describing preemption Any assistance Proposed See Blake v. Pallan, 10 with the price of intervention”). 11 California, allowing Proposed Intervenors to intervene at this 12 time might encourage other non-interested parties to seek 13 intervention as well as add a level of complexity to the 14 proceedings that would be unnecessary to properly resolve the 15 issues in this case. As noted by the State of The Court agrees. 16 17 18 IV. ORDER For the reasons set forth above, Proposed Intervenors’ 19 Motion to Intervene is DENIED. 20 amici curiae brief by Tuesday, June 12, 2018. 21 22 Proposed Intervenors may file an IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: June 4, 2018 23 24 25 26 27 28 9

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