Alliance for the Wild Rockies et al v. Lannom et al
ORDER granting 16 Motion to Intervene. Signed by Magistrate Judge Kathleen L. DeSoto on 10/8/2021. (APP)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MONTANA
ALLIANCE FOR THE WILD
ROCKIES, NATIVE ECOSYSTEMS
KEITH LANNOM, Deputy Regional
Forester, Region One of U.S. Forest
Service, U.S. FOREST SERVICE, and
U.S. FISH & WILDLIFE SERVICE,
American Forest Resource Council (“AFRC”) has filed a motion for leave
to intervene in the above-captioned case as a matter of right under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 24(a)(2) or, in the alternative, permissively under Fed. R. Civ. P.
24(b). Plaintiffs do not oppose the motion, and Federal Defendants have stated that
they take no position on the motion. (Doc. 16, at 2).
A litigant seeking to intervene under Fed. R. Civ. P. 24(a) bears the burden
of establishing that the following criteria are satisfied: (1) the motion is timely; (2)
the applicant has a “significantly protectable” interest relating to the property or
transaction that is the subject of the action; (3) the applicant is so situated that the
disposition of the action may, as a practical matter, impair or impede the
applicant’s ability to protect its interest; and (4) the applicant’s interest is not
adequately represented by the existing parties in the lawsuit. Wilderness Soc. v.
U.S. Forest Service, 630 F.3d 1173, 1177 (9th Cir. 2011) (quoting Sierra Club v.
EPA, 995 F.2d 1478, 1481 (9th Cir. 1993); DBSI/TRI IV Ltd. Partnership v. United
States, 465 F.3d 1031, 1037 (9th Cir. 2006).
In evaluating these factors, “[c]ourts are to take all well-pleaded,
nonconclusory allegations in the motion to intervene, the proposed complaint or
answer in intervention, and declarations supporting the motion as true absent sham,
frivolity or other objections.” Southwest Center for Biological Diversity v. Berg,
268 F.3d 810, 820 (9th Cir. 2001). While “the party seeking to intervene bears the
burden of showing those four elements are met, ‘the requirements for intervention
are broadly interpreted in favor of intervention.’” Prete v. Bradbury, 438 F.3d 949,
954 (9th Cir. 2006) (quoting United States v. Alisal Water Corp., 370 F.3d 915, 919
(9th Cir. 2004)).
All four criteria for intervention as of right are satisfied in this case. This
case is in its earliest stages, and there is no indication that allowing AFRC to
intervene will prejudice the existing parties. AFRC moved to intervene without
delay, and its motion is thus timely. Plaintiffs Alliance for the Wild Rockies and
Native Ecosystems Council seek to permanently vacate or enjoin the
implementation of the Horsefly Vegetation Project on the Lewis and Clark portion
of the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest. As detailed in its supporting brief,
AFRC and its members have a significant protectable economic interest that may
be impaired as a result of this litigation because they regularly purchase sales
offered by the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest or process timber from
those sales. Finally, AFRC has shown that the Federal Defendants’ representation
of AFRC’s protectable interest may be inadequate because the Federal Defendants’
interests are more focused on the broad public interest than on AFRC’s economic
interests in relation to the Horsefly Vegetation Project.
Because AFRC satisfies the criteria for intervention as of right and no
existing party argues otherwise,
IT IS ORDERED that AFRC’s motion to intervene as a matter of right
pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 24(a) is GRANTED.1 The Clerk of Court is directed to
“A motion to intervene is a nondispositive motion which may be heard and
determined by a magistrate judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A).” United
States v. Marsten Apartments, Inc. 175 F.R.D. 265, 267 n. 1 (E.D. Mich. 1997).
See also Robert Ito Farm, Inc. v. City of Maui, 2015 WL 134070, at *2 (D. Haw.
add American Forest Resource Council as a Defendant-Intervenor, and the case
caption shall be modified accordingly. AFRC shall abide by the terms of the
existing case management orders and its summary judgement brief will be due on
December 7, 2021, limited to 6,500 words, and its reply will be due on January 25,
2022, limited to 3,500 words.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that AFRC shall refile the Proposed Answer
(Doc.16-2) attached to its motion to intervene.
DATED this 8th day of October, 2 021.
Kathleen L. DeSoto
United States Magistrate Judge
Jan 9. 2015); United States v. Brooks, 163 F.R.D. 601 (D. Or. 1995).
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