United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO INTERVENE BY LIBERTY
L. Nunley, United States District Judge.
matter is before the Court on Proposed Plaintiff Intervenor,
Liberty Insurance Corporation's (“Proposed
Plaintiff Intervenor”) motion to intervene pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24(a)(2), and in the
alternative Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24(b). (ECF No.
34 at 2, 4.) No. oppositions to this motion have been filed.
Factual and Procedural Background
November 14, 2016, Plaintiffs Raul and Soledad Zamudio
(“Plaintiffs”) filed a complaint for personal
injury damages against FMC Corporation
(“Defendant”). (ECF No. 1.) Plaintiffs brought
six causes of action against Defendant arising from a
workplace incident that occurred on July 2, 2015. (ECF No. 1
¶ 10.) During Raul Zamudio's employment at H.J.
Heinz Company dba Escalon Premier Brands
(“Heinz”), he suffered a serious injury while
cleaning a machine he alleges was defectively manufactured by
Defendant. (ECF No. 1 ¶ 3.) Plaintiffs allege the
machine started suddenly while in the off position and caused
bi-lateral amputation to both of Raul Zamudio's arms.
(ECF No. 1 ¶ 10.) Plaintiffs argue Defendant's
defective product and/or negligence caused the injury. (ECF
No. 1 ¶ 10.) As a result of the injury, Raul Zamudio
became unable to perform his job, and Plaintiffs seek
recovery for personal injuries relating to the alleged
product defect, breach of express warranty, and loss of
consortium. (ECF No. 1 at 1.)
April 24, 2018, Proposed Plaintiff Intervenor filed the
instant motion seeking intervention of right or permissive
intervention. (ECF No. 34.) Proposed Plaintiff Intervenor is
an insurance company that serves as the workers'
compensation insurance carrier for Heinz. (ECF No. 34 at 10,
¶ 3.) Proposed Plaintiff Intervenor has paid
workers' compensation benefits to or on behalf of
Plaintiff Raul Zamudio as a result of the incident, and is
pursuing a subrogation claim based on those benefits.
(See ECF No. 34 at 6.) Proposed Plaintiff Intervenor
claims it has cognizable interest that would be impaired or
impeded by way of disposition of Plaintiff's action, and
the existing parties do not adequately represent that
interest. (ECF No. 34 at 6.) Therefore, Proposed Plaintiff
Intervenor argues it is entitled to intervene as a matter of
right under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24(a)(2). (ECF
No. 34 at 6.)
Standard of Law
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24(a)(2), on timely
motion, intervention is a matter of right when the moving
party is one who “claims an interest relating to the
property or transaction that is the subject of the action,
and is so situated that disposing of the action may as a
practical matter impair or impede the movant's ability to
protect its interest, unless existing parties adequately
represent that interest.” Rule 24(a)(2).
apply a “four-part test” to determine whether a
moving party may intervene as a matter of right: “(1)
the motion must be timely; (2) the applicant must claim a
significantly protectable interest relating to the property
or transaction which is the subject of the action; (3) the
applicant must be so situated that disposition of the action
may as a practical matter impair or impede its ability to
protect that interest; and (4) the applicant's interest
must be inadequately represented by the parties to the
action.” California ex rel. Lockyer v. United
States, 450 F.3d 436, 440 (9th Cir. 2006); Rule 24(b).
of these four requirements must be satisfied to support a
right to intervene.” Chamness v. Bowen, 722
F.3d 1110, 1121 (9th Cir. 2013) (quoting Arakaki v.
Cayetano, 324 F.3d 1078, 1083 (9th Cir. 2003)). In
evaluating whether these requirements are met, courts
“are guided primarily by practical and equitable
considerations.” Alisal Water Corp., 370 F.3d
915, 919 (9th Cir. 2004). Further, courts generally
“construe [the Rule] broadly in favor of proposed
intervenors.” United States v. City of Los Angeles,
Cal., 288 F.3d 391, 397 (9th Cir. 2002).
case arises out an incident that occurred at Plaintiff Raul
Zamudio's place of employment by an alleged defective
product of Defendant. (ECF No. 1 ¶ 10.) As the
workers' compensation carrier for Heinz, Proposed
Plaintiff Intervenor claims to have a significantly
protectable interest in the matter due to the workers'
compensation benefits it has paid to Plaintiff Raul Zamudio.
(ECF No. 34 at 3-4.) Proposed Plaintiff Intervenor seeks a
subrogation claim against Defendant and argues its interests
are not properly represented by existing parties. (ECF No.
34. at 5.) Given the factual relatedness of the claims by
Plaintiffs and Proposed Plaintiff Intervenor, Proposed
Plaintiff Intervenor further argues an adverse judgment in
the present case would inhibit its ability to recover from
Defendant. (See ECF No. 34 at 6-7.) The Court
addresses each of the four Rule 24(a)(2) factors in turn.
Timeliness of Motion
is ‘the threshold requirement' for intervention as
of right.” League of United Latin Am. Citizens v.
Wilson, 131 F.3d 1297, 1302 (9th Cir. 1997). A motion is
generally considered timely when “made at an early
stage of the proceedings, the parties would not have suffered
from the grant of intervention at that early stage, and
intervention would not cause disruption or delay in the
proceedings.” Citizens for Balanced Use v. Montana
Wilderness Ass'n, 647 F.3d 893, 897 (9th Cir. 2011).
In determining whether a motion is timely, courts consider:
(1) the stage of the proceeding; (2) any prejudice to the
other parties; and (3) the reason for and length of any
delay. Orange Cty. v. Air California, 799 F.2d 535,
537 (9th Cir. 1986).
regard to the stage of the proceeding prong, the case is in
the pretrial stage and as of the filing of Proposed Plaintiff
Intervenor's motion (ECF No. 34), no trial date had been
set. As to the prejudice of other parties, Proposed Plaintiff
Intervenor contends that its claim will not “expand the
scope of discovery, require additional investigation, or
otherwise cause delay in the underlying action.” (ECF
No. 34 at 10, ¶ 9.) The Court agrees that Proposed
Plaintiff's Intervention is unlikely to prejudice the
existing parties given the factual relatedness of the claims.
Further, existing parties have not filed opposition to
Proposed Plaintiff Intervenor's intervention that
indicate any potential prejudice against them. Finally, as to
the reason for and length of any delay, Plaintiffs filed
their complaint on November 14, 2016. (ECF No. 1.) Proposed
Plaintiff Intervenor did not file the present motion until
April 25, 2018. (ECF No. 34.) Proposed Plaintiff Intervenor
claims its present motion was filed ...