Center for Biological Diversity v. Bernhardt et al
ORDER granting 16 Motion to Intervene by State of Idaho. Defendant-Intervenor shall file its answer on or before October 21, 2019. Defendant-Intervenor shall confer with counsel for the federal defendants on all motions and briefs to avoid repetitious arguments to the extent consistent with Defendant-Intervenor's interests. Signed by Judge Dana L. Christensen on 10/7/2019. (NOS)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTREc,..,v
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MONTANA
OCT O7 2019
CLEDRK, U.S. Di STf~ ICT CO URT
!STRICT OF MONTANA .
CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL
DAVID BERNHARDT, Secretary of
the U.S. Department of the Interior;
and MARGARET EVERSON,
Principal Deputy Director of U.S. Fish
and Wildlife Service,
Before the Court is the State of Idaho's Motion to Intervene. (Doc. 16.)
Idaho seeks to Intervene in this matter "as of right" pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 24(a) or "permissively" pursuant to Rule 24(b). (Doc. 17 at 2.)
Federal Defendants take no position on this Motion. (Doc. 21 at 2.) Plaintiffs do
not oppose Idaho's permissive intervention under Rule 24(b ), though ask the Court
to limit Idaho's participation in the same way the Court limited Wyoming's,
namely, to require Idaho be bound by the same deadlines in the Court's
forthcoming scheduling order and to work with Wyoming and Federal Defendant's
in order to avoid duplicative briefing. For the following reasons, Idaho's Motion
will be granted.
Rule 24(b )(1 )(B) provides that "[o]n timely motion, the court may permit
anyone to intervene who ... has a claim or defense that shares with the main
action a common question of law or fact." "The decision to grant or deny this
type of intervention is discretionary, subject to considerations of equity and
judicial economy." Garza v. County ofLos Angeles, 918 F.2d 763, 777 (9th Cir.
1990). When exercising this discretion, the court must "consider whether the
intervention will unduly delay or prejudice the adjudication of the original parties'
rights." Fed. R. Civ. P. 24(b)(3). "Permissive intervention to litigate a claim on
the merits under Rule 24(b) requires (1) an independent ground for jurisdiction; (2)
a timely motion; and (3) a common question of law and fact between the movant's
claim or defense and the main action." Beckman Industries, Inc. v. International
Insurance Co., 966 F.2d 470,473 (9th Cir. 1992). However, when the court has
federal-question jurisdiction and the proposed intervenor does not seek to bring
new state-law claims, an independent ground for jurisdiction is unnecessary.
Freedom from Religion Foundation, Inc. v. Geithner, 644 F .3d 836, 843-44 (9th
Cir. 2011). Here, this Court has federal-question jurisdiction and Idaho is not
advancing any individual claims. (See Doc. 17 at 13.) Consequently, the Court
turns to the remaining two requirements.
First, Idaho's motion is timely. The timeliness of a motion to intervene
depends on three criteria: "( 1) the stage of the proceeding at which an applicant
seeks to intervene; (2) the prejudice to other parties; and (3) the reason for the
length of delay." United States v. Carpenter, 298 F.3d 1122, 1125 (9th Cir. 2002)
(internal quotation marks and citations omitted). This litigation is in a preliminary
stage and the Court has not yet issued a scheduling order. In light of the early
stage of these proceedings, the Court does not find that there will be prejudice to
other parties or that there is any delay in the filing of Idaho's motion.
Next, the Court considers whether there are common questions of law and
fact between Idaho's defense and the main action. Here, Idaho does not appear to
be raising any specific defense but intends to defend that the Service maintains
discretion as to whether to amend or modify the Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan under
the Endangered Species Act ("ESA"). As such, Idaho's defenses are directly
responsive to the Center's claims that the Service maintained a nondiscretionary
duty to evaluate and incorporate new grizzly habitats under the ESA.
In granting the motion for permissive intervention, the Court advises Idaho
that, while it may participate in settlement negotiations with the parties should such
negotiations take place, its status as Defendant-Intervenor does not carry with it the
right to prevent any settlement of plaintiffs' claims from occurring. See United
States v. Carpenter, 526 F.3d 1237, 1240-1241 (9th Cir. 2008) (recognizing "that
intervenors' consent is not required for approval of [a] settlement between the
parties"); Local Number 93, Int'/ Ass 'n ofFirefighters, AFL-CIO C.L.C. v. City of
Cleveland, 478 U.S. 501, 528-529 (1986) ("It has never been supposed that ... an
intervenor ... could preclude other parties from settling their own disputes and
thereby withdrawing from litigation. Thus, while an intervenor is entitled to
present evidence and have its objections heard at the hearings on whether to
approve a consent decree, it does not have power to block the decree merely by
withholding its consent.") (citations omitted).
Furthermore, the Court urges Idaho to focus its briefing on its unique
interests in this case. It is not helpful when intervenors or amici brief the same
issues and make the same arguments advanced by other defendants.
As for the conditions that Plaintiffs request, the Court will require of Idaho
the same conditions that it placed upon Wyoming. All defendants will be bound
by the same filing deadlines. All defendants are expected to work together to
avoid duplicative briefing.
Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that Idaho's Motion to Intervene (Doc. 16) is
GRANTED as follows:
1) Defendant-Intervenor are hereby granted leave to intervene as a
defendant in this matter pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
24(b )(1 )(B);
2) Defendant-Intervenor shall file its answer on or before October 21, 2019;
3) Defendant-Intervenor shall confer with counsel for the federal defendants
on all motions and briefs to avoid repetitious arguments to the extent
consistent with Defendant-Intervenor's interests
DATED this ~
day of October, 2019.
Dana L. Christensen, Chief Judge
United States District Court
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