Buffin et al v. City and County of San Francisco et al

Filing 119

ORDER by Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers granting 110 Motion to Intervene. (fs, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 3/6/2017)

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1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 5 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 6 7 8 RIANA BUFFIN, et al., Plaintiffs, 9 10 United States District Court Northern District of California 11 Case No. 15-cv-04959-YGR ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO INTERVENE v. Re: Dkt. No. 110 THE CITY AND COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO, et al., 12 Defendants. 13 14 The allegations of this action are well-known. Since plaintiffs filed their Third Amended 15 Complaint (“3AC”), the Court has dismissed the following defendants: the State of California, the 16 City and County of San Francisco, and the California Attorney General.1 Additionally, the last 17 remaining defendant, Sheriff Vicki Hennessy, has announced she will not defend this action. 18 In this context, the California Bail Agents Association (“CBAA”) filed a fourth motion to 19 intervene. Having carefully considered the papers submitted and for the reasons discussed below, 20 the Court DENIES CBAA’s motion to intervene as of right and GRANTS CBAA’s motion for 21 permissive intervention subject to the conditions outlined in this Order. 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 I. BACKGROUND The 3AC fundamentally challenges the San Francisco Sheriff’s use of a bail schedule to detain a person prior to being seen by a judicial officer. In California, state law imposes a duty on 1 Plaintiff’s Complaint names Kamala Harris as California’s Attorney General. However, Kamala Harris is now a Senator and was replaced as Attorney General by Xavier Becerra. Thus, any future references in this action to the Attorney General shall now apply to Mr. Becerra. See FED. R. CIV. P. 25(d) (“[W]hen a public officer who is a party in an official capacity . . . ceases to hold office while the action is pending[,] [t]he officer’s successor is automatically substituted as a party.”) 1 superior court judges to “prepare, adopt, and annually revise a uniform countywide schedule of 2 bail” for all bail-eligible offenses except Vehicle Code infractions. Cal. Pen. Code. § 1269b(c). The 3 County Sheriff then determines a particular arrestee’s bail amount by referencing the bail schedule. 4 Cal. Pen. Code. § 1269b(a). Plaintiffs allege section 1269b has the effect of requiring secured money bail and causes 5 6 San Francisco to detain individuals solely because they cannot afford the cost of release. (See 3AC 7 ¶ 18.) They therefore allege that section 1269b is unconstitutional because it requires or permits 8 “wealth-based detention without an inquiry into an individual’s ability to make a monetary 9 payment.” (See id. at ¶¶ 21–26.) Under the current procedural posture, the only remaining defendant has refused to defend 10 United States District Court Northern District of California 11 the statute. CBAA—an “association of approximately 3,300 surety bail agents who facilitate the 12 posting of surety bail bonds by arrestees in California”—moves to intervene as a defendant, and 13 seeks to defend the constitutionality of section 1269b. (Fourth Motion to Intervene, “4MTI.”) 14 CBAA filed its first motion to intervene on December 21, 2015. (Dkt. No. 41.) However, 15 the Court found CBAA’s first motion premature. (Dkt. No. 55 at 3.) CBAA then filed its second 16 motion to intervene, which the Court denied without prejudice for failing to comply with Federal 17 Rule of Civil Procedure 24(c). (Dkt. No. 99 at 23.) Next, CBAA filed its third motion to intervene, 18 but it was taken off calendar after the Attorney General indicated she would also seek to intervene. 19 (Dkt. No. 106.) Ultimately, however, the Attorney General decided not to intervene. (Dkt. No. 20 109.) Finally, on December 20, 2016, CBAA filed its fourth motion to intervene, which is now 21 pending before the Court. (Dkt. No. 110.) 22 23 24 II. CBAA’S MOTION TO INTERVENE CBAA moves to intervene as a defendant pursuant to Rule 24(a) as a matter of right or, in the alternative, for permissive intervention under Rule 24(b). 25 The Sheriff, the last remaining defendant, does not oppose CBAA’s motion to intervene. 26 A. Intervention as of Right – Rule 24(a) 27 Intervention under Rule 24(a)(2) is appropriate upon satisfaction of a four-factor test: (1) the 28 applicant must assert a “significantly protectable” interest relating to the property or transaction that 2 1 is the subject of the action; (2) the applicant’s interest must be represented inadequately by the 2 parties to the action; (3) the applicant must be situated such that disposition of the action may, as a 3 practical matter, impair or impede its ability to protect that interest; and (4) the applicant’s motion 4 must be timely. Fed. R. Civ. P. 24(a); Donnelly v. Glickman, 159 F.3d 405, 409 (9th Cir. 1998) 5 (citing Cabazon Band of Mission Indians v. Wilson, 124 F.3d 1050, 1061 (9th Cir. 1997)). Failure 6 to satisfy any one of the requirements is fatal to the application, and a court need not reach the 7 remaining elements if one of the elements is not satisfied. Perry v. Proposition 8 Official 8 Proponents, 587 F.3d 947, 950 (9th Cir. 2009). 9 Whether intervention as of right is warranted here turns primarily on the first factor. A movant has a “significantly protectable” interest if that asserted interest is protected under some 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 law and is related to the plaintiff’s claims. California ex rel. Lockyer v. United States, 450 F.3d 12 436, 441 (9th Cir. 2006) (citing Donnelly, 159 F.3d at 409). When evaluating a proposed 13 intervenor’s alleged interest, the Ninth Circuit has made clear that Rule 24(a)(2) does not require a 14 specific legal or equitable interest. Fresno Cty. v. Andrus, 622 F.2d 436, 438 (9th Cir. 1980). 15 Rather, “a party has a sufficient interest for intervention purposes if it will suffer a practical 16 impairment of its interests as a result of the pending litigation.” Lockyer, 450 F.3d at 441. For 17 example, the Ninth Circuit has held that a party may seek to intervene as of right when it is the 18 intended beneficiary of a challenged law. See, e.g., Lockyer, 450 F.3d at 442 (finding a significantly 19 protectable interest where the proposed intervenors were the intended beneficiaries of the 20 challenged legislation); Arakaki v. Cayetano, 324 F.3d 1078, 1084 (9th Cir. 2003) (concluding that 21 native Hawaiians had a significantly protectable interest in their exclusive, government-funded 22 benefits, which were the subject of the plaintiffs’ challenge). Further, a non-speculative, economic 23 interest may be sufficient to support intervention if the interest is concrete and related to the 24 action’s underlying subject matter. United States v. Alisal Water Corp., 370 F.3d 915, 919 (9th Cir. 25 2004). However, an economic stake in the outcome of the litigation—even if significant—does not, 26 by itself, qualify as a significantly protectable interest. Greene v. United States, 996 F.2d 973, 976 27 (9th Cir. 1993). Thus, in Alisal, the Ninth Circuit declined to find a significant protectable interest 28 where a judgment creditor sought to intervene in an environmental enforcement action in which he 3 1 had no interest except for the prospect that an award of penalties in the remedial phase might impair 2 his ability to collect the debt. 370 F.3d at 920–21. In short, the “significantly protectable” interest 3 test is not a bright-line rule and requires a case-by-case, fact-based analysis. 4 Here, CBAA asserts a “significantly protectable” interest in the survival of (1) its members’ 5 already-existing surety bail bond contracts and (2) its industry as a whole going forward. First, with 6 respect to its current bail bond contracts, the Court disagrees that CBAA will “suffer a practical 7 impairment of [this particular] interest as a result of the pending litigation.” Lockyer, 450 F.3d at 8 441. CBAA claims that plaintiffs’ requested relief—a declaration that section 1269b is 9 unconstitutional—would necessarily invalidate all outstanding surety bail bond contracts. Not so. Section 1269b merely concerns a discrete portion of the bail system used in California. Though 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 section 1269b(a) authorizes government officials to accept surety bonds in exchange for an 12 arrestee’s pre-arraignment release, plaintiffs do not challenge this provision. Nor do plaintiffs 13 mount an independent challenge to the current contracts themselves. Thus, even if the Court did 14 grant plaintiffs’ requested relief, it is the bail-setting method used by San Francisco County that 15 would be deemed unconstitutional—not the ability of surety bail agents to enforce already-existing 16 bail bond contracts or enter into new ones. 17 Second, CBAA’s argument that it has a “significantly protectable” interest in the continued 18 viability of its industry because the bail bond industry was established by the California 19 Constitution and/or the Eighth Amendment fails to persuade. At most, the cited provisions approve 20 of the use of surety bail bonds to secure an arrestee’s pre-arraignment release. They do not 21 guarantee the industry’s existence. Moreover, neither CBAA nor its members are the intended 22 beneficiaries of section 1269b. Thus, CBAA’s interest in defending section 1269b is 23 distinguishable from the intervenors in either Lockyer or Arakaki. CBAA’s interest in continuing to 24 profit from the provision of bail bonds is more akin to the interest of the judgment creditor in 25 Alisal, which was rejected by the Ninth Circuit as being “too remote from the core issues involved 26 in the litigation.” In re Estate of Ferdinand E. Marcos Human Rights Litig., 536 F.3d 980, 986 (9th 27 Cir. 2008) (discussing Alisal, 370 F.3d 915). Finally, CBAA’s assertion that its industry will be 28 necessarily destroyed should plaintiffs’ claims succeed is similarly unavailing. Plaintiffs’ challenge 4 1 is lim mited to the method San Francisco County uses to set bail fo pre-arraig n C for gnment arres stees, a 2 period of time th is typical only 48 hours. CBAA overstates the limited scope of the action. hat lly h A e 3 4 For the foregoing rea f asons, the Court finds th CBAA do not have a significan hat oes e ntly prot tectable inter in this li rest itigation and DENIES the motion to in d e ntervene as of right.2 B. Perm missive Intervention – Rule 24(b) R 6 The Cou next addresses permis urt ssive interve ention under Rule 24(b). With respec to ct 7 perm missive inter rvention, the applicant fo interventio must sho that (1) in e or on ow ndependent g grounds for 8 juris sdiction exis (2) the mo st; otion is timely; and (3) th applicant claim or d he t’s defense shar a res 9 com mmon questio of law or fact with the main actio Fed. R. C P. 24(b); League of United Latin on e on. Civ. ; n 10 Am. Citizens v. Wilson, 131 F.3d 1297, 1308 (9th Cir. 1997). Ev where al prerequisit are met, ven ll tes 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 5 strict court has considera discretion in ruling on a motion for permiss interven h able n sive ntion. In re a dis 12 Benny, 791 F.2d 712, 721–2 (9th Cir. 1986). “In ex d 22 1 xercising its discretion, t court mu consider the ust 13 whe ether the inte ervention wil unduly del or prejud the adju ll lay dice udication of t original parties’ the 14 righ hts.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 24(b b)(3). 15 1. 1 16 Indep pendent Juris sdictional G Grounds Permissi intervent ive tion first requires indepe endent groun for jurisd nds diction. Free edom from 17 Reli igion Found. Inc. v. Gei ., ithner, 644 F.3d 836, 843 (9th Cir. 2 F 3 2011) (citing Beckman In g ndus., Inc. v. 18 Int'l Ins. Co., 96 F.2d 470, 473 (9th Cir 1992)). Pe l 66 r. ermissive int tervention’s jurisdictional 19 requ uirement is primarily con p ncerned with avoiding th inappropr h he riate expansi of the dis ion strict courts’ ’ 20 juris sdiction. Id. For instance in a divers case, a p e, sity proposed inte ervenor may not use perm y missive 21 inter rvention “to gain a feder forum for state-law c ral r claims over w which the dis strict court w would not, 22 othe erwise, have jurisdiction.” Id. In fede question cases, how eral n wever, “the di istrict court’ ’s 23 juris sdiction is gr rounded in th federal qu he uestion(s) ra aised by the p plaintiff,” an the requir nd rement does 24 not apply when the proposed intervenor is not raisin new claim Id. at 844 d r ng ms. 4. 25 26 Here, the Court has federal question jurisdic e f ction over pla aintiffs’ con nstitutional ch hallenges to tion 1269b. In the parties Joint State I s’ ement Regar rding Propos Intervent sed tion and Cas se sect 27 28 2 Becaus the Court finds that CB se BAA does n have a sig not gnificantly p protectable interest, it does not address the remain s s ning factors for interventi as of rig f ion ght. 5 1 Man nagement (D No. 117) CBAA agr Dkt. ), reed not to a assert any co ounterclaims According CBAA s. gly, 2 does not seek, and will not be permitted to inject an new issue into the lit s a b d, ny es tigation over which the r 3 Cou would not otherwise have jurisdic urt t h ction. 4 5 Therefor the Court finds that th jurisdictio re, t he onal requirem is satis ment sfied. 2. 2 Timel liness 6 CBAA’s motion mu also be tim s ust mely. Fed. R Civ. P. 24( When as R. (b). ssessing tim meliness, the 7 Nint Circuit co th onsiders thre factors: (1) the stage o the procee ee of edings; (2) an prejudice to existing ny e 8 part ties; and (3) the length of and reason for, any de t f, n elay. League of United L e Latin Am. Cit tizens v. 9 Wils 131 F.3d 1297, 1308 (9th Cir. 1997) (citing Orange Cty v. Air Cali son, g y. ifornia, 799 F.2d 535, 10 United States District Court Northern District of California 11 12 13 14 537 (9th Cir. 19 986)). Here, tim meliness is not an issue. CBAA filed its initial m n d motion to inte ervene less t than two nths aintiffs filed their compla aint. (Dkt. N 41.) CBA No. AA’s motion is timely. n mon after pla 3. 3 Comm Questio of Law or Fact mon on r The fina factor “req al quires only that [the prop t posed interv venor’s] claim or defense and the m e 15 main action hav a question of law or fa in commo Kootenai Tribe of I n ve n act on.” Idaho v. Ven neman, 313 16 F.3d 1094, 1108 (9th Cir. 20 d 8 002), abroga on othe r grounds by Wilderness Soc. v. U.S Forest ated y s S. 17 Serv 630 F.3d 1173 (9th Cir. 2011). Un v., nlike interve ention as of r right, a prop posed interve enor need 18 not specify any particular pe ersonal or pe ecuniary inte erest in the s subject of the litigation. I e Id. 19 e tal r aintiffs is wh hether sectio 1269b vio on olates the Here, the fundament question raised by pla 20 urteenth Ame endment. At least two of CBAA’s pr f roposed affir rmative defe enses, as arti iculated in its Fou 21 Prop posed Answer to Plaintif 3AC, req ffs’ quire resolut tion of this s same legal qu uestion. Thu resolution us, n 22 of CBAA’s prop C posed affirm mative defens are interc ses connected w the funda with amental lega question al 23 pose by plainti ed iffs. 24 25 26 Therefor CBAA ha asserted a defense tha shares a qu re, as at uestion of la with the m action. aw main 4. 4 Perm missive Interv vention—wit Condition th ns—is Warra anted In sum, the Court fin that CBA satisfies the three req t nds AA quirements f permissiv for ve 27 inter rvention. Ho owever, the Court still maintains disc C m cretion to gr or deny the motion t intervene. rant to 28 constitutiona Here given the absence of any defendan willing to defend the c e, a nt ality of secti 1269b, ion 6 1 the Court finds intervention appropriate. Without zealous advocates—on both sides—the Court 2 risks deciding an important constitutional question without two sets of well-crafted legal arguments 3 and a fully-vetted factual record. CBAA’s intervention alleviates these concerns. Moreover, 4 allowing CBAA to intervene will result in minimal delay and cause no prejudice to plaintiffs.3 5 Accordingly, the Court GRANTS CBAA’s motion to intervene. That said, the Court also 6 finds that limits should be placed on CBAA’s participation in this action, consistent with the 7 Supreme Court’s discussion in Stringfellow v. Concerned Neighbors in Action. 480 U.S. 370, 375– 8 78 (1987). Thus, in accordance with the parties’ Joint Statement Regarding Proposed Intervention 9 and Case Management (Dkt. No. 117), the Court limits CBAA’s intervention as follows: 10 First, CBAA may not expand the scope of this action or raise new issues. Thus, CBAA may United States District Court Northern District of California 11 not file any motion to dismiss or seek to assert any counterclaims. CBAA may only file its 12 proposed answer, any opposition(s) to plaintiffs’ motion(s), a motion for summary judgment, 13 and/or a trial brief. All filings must also be in accordance with this Court’s Standing Order. 14 Second, all discovery must be shared. To the extent possible, factual presentation to the 15 Court shall be based on stipulated facts. Plaintiffs shall first propose a list of facts upon which they 16 intend to rely, and CBAA shall then propose additional facts for stipulation within ten days of 17 receiving plaintiffs’ list. Only those facts that cannot be established through stipulation will be the 18 subject of formal discovery. After plaintiffs’ initial round of discovery is complete, CBAA may 19 propound its own discovery only to the extent necessary to fill any gaps left by plaintiffs, correct 20 any inaccuracies, or fully vet the factual record. Such discovery may include depositions of parties, 21 third-parties, and experts. All discovery requests should be crafted so as to minimize discovery 22 costs, and must be relevant to the issues raised in plaintiffs’ claims and any corresponding defenses. 23 CBAA shall not propound duplicate discovery. If any discovery requested by plaintiffs was not 24 provided by defendant or a third party, however, CBAA may request the material in its own 25 discovery requests. If necessary, CBAA may also file motions concerning its own discovery 26 27 28 3 The Court also rejects plaintiffs’ request to relegate CBAA to amicus curiae status. Amicus curiae status, under these unique circumstances, is inadequate and does not assure sufficient adversarial participation necessary for resolution of the issues presented. 7 1 requests after meeting-and-conferring, and in accordance with this Court’s Standing Order, but it 2 may not file any motions with respect to plaintiffs’ discovery requests. Third, CBAA may seek leave to file an opposition to plaintiffs’ motion for class 3 4 certification within seven days of said filing. Plaintiffs will have seven days to respond to any such 5 request. 6 III. CONCLUSION For the reasons stated herein, the Court DENIES CBAA’s motion to intervene as of right and 7 8 GRANTS CBAA’s motion for permissive intervention subject to the conditions outlined in this 9 Order. IT IS SO ORDERED. 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 This Order terminates Docket Number 110. 12 Date: March 6, 2017 13 14 15 16 _______________________________________ YVONNE GONZALEZ ROGERS UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 8

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