United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO INTERVENE
WILLIAM ALSUP, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
action under the Freedom of Information Act, a third-party
whose documents are at issue moves to intervene pursuant to
Rule 24(a) and Rule 24(b). To the extent stated below, the
motion is Granted.
facts of this action are discussed in detail in the order
granting in part and denying in part the parties'
cross-motions for summary judgment (Dkt. No. 58). In brief,
plaintiff American Small Business League (“ASBL”)
is an organization that promotes the interests of small
businesses (Dkt. No. 1 ¶ 4).
action is related to a prior FOIA case, American Small
Business League v. Department of Defense, No. C 14-02166
WHA (“ASBL I”). There, in August 2013,
the same plaintiff requested Sikorsky Aircraft
Corporation's 2013 Comprehensive Small Business
Subcontracting Plan from the Department of Defense pursuant
to FOIA. The agency initially denied plaintiff's request
on the basis that the requested document contained
confidential commercial information and thus fell under
FOIA's exemption under Section 552(b)(4). In March 2018,
after years of litigation and a trip to our court of appeals,
the government released the document over Sikorsky's
objections (with the exception of limited redactions for
private personal information under Section 552(b)(6)) (Dkt.
No. 58 at 2).
relevant to the instant motion, plaintiff now seeks all
documents transmitted during ASBL I between the
Department of Defense or defendant Department of Justice and
Lockheed Martin Corporation (including Sikorsky, a subsidiary
of Lockheed) regarding the 2013 FOIA request, ASBL, Lloyd
Chapman, the Comprehensive Subcontracting Plan Test Program,
and the Mentor-Protégé program (Dkt. No. 47 at
plaintiff's filing of the instant action in March 2018,
the government released responsive documents, subject to
redactions (Dkt. No. 29 ¶¶ 2-4). In late 2018, the
parties cross-moved for summary judgment on the
government's redactions (Dkt. Nos. 44, 47). Of particular
interest to Lockheed Martin, the court denied both
parties' cross-motions for summary judgment as to
Exemption 4 (Dkt. No. 58 at 11).
April 9, 2019, a prior order approved the parties'
stipulated schedule regarding pretrial and trial dates. The
schedule required the parties to complete expert discovery by
October 31, 2019. Regarding materials withheld pursuant to
Exemption 4, a subsequent order required the parties to serve
lists of anticipated expert witnesses by July 15, 2019 (Dkt.
No. 69 at 2).
third-party Lockheed Martin seeks to intervene both as of
right under Rule 24(a)(2) and permissively under Rule
24(b)(1)(B) on the grounds that Lockheed Martin has an
interest in shielding its confidential information from
disclosure, the disposition of this case may substantially
impair or impede this interest, and the government no longer
adequately represents Lockheed Martin's interests. This
order follows full briefing and oral argument.
intervene as of right under Rule 24(a)(2) an applicant must
claim “an interest relating to the property or
transaction that is the subject of the action, ” the
protection of which may, as a practical matter, be impaired
or impeded by the action if the applicant is not allowed to
participate in the litigation. An applicant seeking to
intervene as of right must demonstrate that:
(1) it has a significant protectable interest relating to the
property or transaction that is the subject of the action;
(2) the disposition of the action may, as a practical matter,
impair or impede the applicant's ability to protect its
interest; (3) the application is timely; and (4) the existing
parties may not adequately represent the applicant's
United States v. City of Los Angeles, 288 F.3d 391,
397 (9th Cir. 2002) (citation omitted). Rule 24(a) is broadly
construed in favor of applicants ...