Drug Enforcement Administration v. Utah Department of Commerce et al
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER Overruling Objections to Magistrate Judge's 47 Order. Signed by Judge David Nuffer on 2/16/17 (alt)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF UTAH, CENTRAL DIVISION
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF
JUSTICE, DRUG ENFORCEMENT
AND ORDER OVERRULING
OBJECTION TO THE
MAGISTRATE JUDGE’S ORDER
Case No. 2:16-cv-611-DN-DBP
UTAH DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE and
UTAH DIVISION OF OCCUPATIONAL &
District Judge David Nuffer
The United States Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
objects 1 to the order issued by Magistrate Judge Dustin Pead 2 allowing limited, permissive
intervention to movants Salt Lake County Firefighters IAFF Local 1696, Equality Utah, the
American Civil Liberties Union of Utah, John Doe 1, and John Doe 2 (Movants). On review of a
magistrate judge’s nondispositive order, “[t]he district judge in the case must consider timely
objections and modify or set aside any part of the order that is clearly erroneous or is contrary to
The Order noted at the onset that the “ruling is limited solely to the issue of intervention
and the court does not address the underlying merits of the case or make any determination
Rule 72(a) Objections to Magistrate Judge’s Order of November 7, 2016 (Objection), docket no. 50, filed
November 21, 2016.
Ruling & Order (Order), docket no. 47, filed November 7, 2016.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(a); see also 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A) (“A judge of the court may reconsider any pretrial matter
under this subparagraph (A) where it has been shown that the magistrate judge's order is clearly erroneous or
contrary to law.”).
regarding Fourth Amendment privacy interests in personal, medical information.” 4 While finding
that intervention of right under Rule 24(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure was not
appropriate, Judge Pead concluded that permissive intervention under Rule 24(b) was
appropriate. 5 In allowing permissive intervention, Judge Pead found that “Movants assert a claim
or defense that shares a common question of law or fact with a claim or defense asserted by the
Respondents--- that the Fourth Amendment protects [Utah Controlled Substances Database
(UCSD)] records.” 6 Further, Judge Pead found that allowing intervention would “‘significantly
contribute to the full development of the underlying factual issues in the suit and to the just and
equitable adjudication of the questions presented.’” 7 Therefore, Judge Pead granted Movants
permissive intervention under Rule 24(b), but limited their “intervention to briefing and
argument regarding Movants’ memorandum in opposition to the DEA’s petition” and did not
permit them to “raise additional counterclaims, cross claims, or participate in any discovery.” 8
DEA objects to the Order claiming that because the State Respondents do not have
standing to raise a Fourth Amendment defense, Movants cannot intervene based on that same
Fourth Amendment claim or defense that they share with the State Respondents. 9 DEA’s
objections are based on its contention that neither Respondents nor Movants can assert a Fourth
Amendment defense, but that issue is not resolved. The Order specifically stated that the “ruling
was limited solely to the issue of intervention.” 10 The Order also explicitly stated that it did not
“address the underlying merits of the case or make any determination regarding Fourth
Order at 1.
Id. at 2-4.
Id. at 4.
Id. (quoting Utah Dep’t of Health v. Kennecott Corp. 232 F.R.D. 392, 398 (D. Utah 2005)).
Id. at 6.
Objection at 9.
Order at 1 (emphasis added).
Amendment privacy interests in personal, medical information.” 11 The viability of the Fourth
Amendment defense raised by either Respondents or Movants has not yet been considered by the
court. Consequently, based only on the factors necessary for permissive intervention under Rule
24(b), Judge Pead correctly found that Movants had met those factors in their “claim or defense
that share[d] a common question of law or fact with a claim or defense asserted by the
Respondents--- that the Fourth Amendment protects UCSD records.” 12
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Rule 72(a) Objections to the Magistrate Judge’s
Order of November 7, 2016 13 is OVERRULED because the Order is not clearly erroneous or
contrary to law. Movants limited permissive intervention is permitted under Rule 24(b) as
outlined in the Order. 14
Signed February 16, 2017.
BY THE COURT
District Judge David Nuffer
Id. (emphasis added).
Id. at 4.
Docket no. 50.
Order at 5.
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