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Dorsey v. United Rentals North America, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

June 9, 2017

EDWARD DORSEY, JR.
v.
UNITED RENTALS NORTH AMERICA, INC., ET AL

         SECTION: “G” (4)

          ORDER AND REASONS

          KAREN WELLS ROBY, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Before the Court is a Motion for Leave to File a Complaint in Intervention (R. Doc. 366) filed by Salvador I. Bivalacqua and Scott Galante of Galante & Bivalacqua LCC (“Intervenors”) requesting the Court to allow them to intervene in the instant action to assert claims for legal fees allegedly earned in representing Plaintiff Edward Dorsey, Jr. R. Doc. 366. The motion was opposed. R. Doc. 373. The motion was submitted on June 7, 2017. For the following reasons, the motion is DENIED.

         I. Background

         This diversity action was removed from the 32nd Judicial District Court for the Parish of Terrebonne on May 8, 2015. R. Doc. 1. In the underlying case, Edward Dorsey (“Plaintiff”) filed a suit seeking damages from a number of defendants as a result of serious injury he allegedly sustained while working as a sandblaster/painter on a job at a WalMart Store in Cut Off, Louisiana. On February 21, 2017, the District Court issued an order dismissed the Plaintiff's claims against all defendants without cost and without prejudice to the right, upon good cause shown within sixty days, to reopen the action if the settlement was not consummated. R. Doc. 357. On February 27, 2017, after being advised that any remaining parties to the above captioned matter had settled their claims, the Court issued an order that the case be “dismissed without costs and without prejudice to the right, upon good cause shown within sixty days, to reopen the action if settlement is not consummated” while retaining the right to enforce the settlement agreement. R. Doc. 360. Finally, on March 3, 2017, the Court granted the Joint Motion to Dismiss with Prejudice as to Edward Blair Dorsey Only (R. Doc. 361) filed by jointly by all the Parties. R. Doc. 363. In that order, the Court reserved jurisdiction only to “all other third party demands, cross-claims, and other incidental demands by and between P.R. Skate, L.L.C., United Rentals (North America) Inc. and Arch Specialty Insurance.” Id. at p. 1-2.

         On May 5, 2017, the Intervenors filed the instant Motion for Leave for File Complaint in Intervention. R. Doc. 366. The Intervenors allege that they were retained by and represented the Plaintiff in the instant matter. R. Doc. 366-1, p. 1. Before the Plaintiff allegedly terminated his relationship with the Intervenors, they allege that they investigated his claim; secured Workers Compensation benefits and medical treatment; retained an expert; developed a theory of the case, and filed the instant suit. Id. The Intervenors assert that the Plaintiff is in violation of the contingency fee agreement they entered into and is in violation of the equitable principle of quantum meruit that governs attorneys' liens in Louisiana. Id. As such, the Intervenors seek to intervene in the instant action to assert these claims.

         The Plaintiff has opposed the motion as untimely. R. Doc. 373.

         II. Standard of Review

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24(a) governs intervention as of right. “Although the movant bears the burden of establishing its right to intervene, Rule 24 is to be liberally construed.” Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Tex. Alcoholic Beverage Comm'n, No. 16-50041, 2016 WL 4435631, at *1 (5th Cir. Aug. 22, 2016) (internal quotation marks omitted) (quoting Texas v. United States, 805 F.3d 653, 656 (5th Cir. 2015)). See also Entergy Gulf States La, L.L.C. v. U.S. E.P.A., 817 F.3d 198, 203 (5th Cir. 2016) (quoting In re Lease Oil Antitrist Litig., 570 F.3d 244, 248 (5th Cir. 2009)) (“The rule ‘is to be liberally construed, ' with ‘doubts resolved in favor of the proposed intervenor.').

         When the movant does not have an “unconditional right” under a federal statute to intervene, Fed.R.Civ.P. 24(a)(1), the movant must satisfy a four part test:

1) the application ... must be timely; (2) the applicant must have an interest relating to the property or transaction which is the subject of the action; (3) the applicant must be so situated that the disposition of the action may, as a practical matter, impair or impede his ability to protect that interest; (4) the applicant's interest must be inadequately represented by the existing parties to the suit.

Id. (quoting Texas, 805 F.3d at 657).

         III. Analysis

         Here, the Intervenors have filed the instant motion seeking to intervene in the instant action to assert claims for legal fees allegedly earned in representing the Plaintiff under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24(a)(2). R. Doc. ...


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