United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER AND REASONS
M. AFRICK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is a motion filed by Charles C. Bourque, Jr. and the
law firm of St. Martin and Bourque, APLC (collectively,
“proposed Intervenors”) requesting that the Court
review and reverse the decision of the U.S. Magistrate Judge
denying their motion to intervene. The U.S. Magistrate Judge
determined that the proposed Intervenors' motion to
intervene was untimely for reasons that he stated on the
record. Plaintiff David Collins
(“Collins”) opposes the proposed Intervenors'
attempt to overturn the U.S. Magistrate Judge's decision.
motion to intervene is considered a non-dispositive
motion.” Johnson v. Qualawash Holdings, LLC,
No. 12-0885, 2013 WL 3050021, at *2 (W.D. La. June 17, 2013)
(Minaldi, J.); see also Bd. of Trustees New Orleans
Employers Int'l Longshoremen's Ass'n v. Gabriel,
Roeder, Smith & Co., No. 05-1221, 2006 WL 2631946,
at *1 (E.D. La. Sept. 13, 2006) (Feldman, J.) (treating a
motion to intervene as a non-dispositive motion). “A
magistrate judge's non-dispositive order may only be set
aside if it ‘is clearly erroneous or is contrary to
law.'” Moore v. Ford Motor Co., 755 F.3d
802, 806 (5th Cir. 2014) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(a)).
“This highly deferential standard requires the court to
affirm the decision of the magistrate judge unless ‘on
the entire evidence [the court] is left with a definite and
firm conviction that a mistake has been
committed.'” Benoit v. Nintendo of Am.,
Inc., No. 01-674, 2001 WL 1524510, at *1 (E.D. La. Nov.
28, 2001) (Vance, J.) (quoting United States v.
United States Gypsum Co., 333 U.S. 364, 395 (1948))
(alteration in original). The party challenging the
magistrate judge's non-dispositive order carries the
burden of establishing that the standard to set the order
aside is met. Redmond v. Poseidon Personnel
Serv., S.A., No. 09-2671, 2009 WL 3486385, at *2 (E.D.
La. Oct. 23, 2009) (Fallon, J.).
proposed Intervenors-who Collins had previously retained
under a contingency fee agreement to represent him in
connection with the accident at the center of this
lawsuit-contend that they have a right to intervene in this
case pursuant to Rule 24(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. Rule 24(a)(2) provides:
On timely motion, the court must permit anyone to intervene
who . . . (2) 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
proposed Intervenors argue that “[i]t is well-settled
that under Rule 24, a discharged attorney seeking to protect
his contingent fee contract is entitled to intervene in the
lawsuit brought on behalf of his former
point, the proposed Intervenors are correct: the Fifth
Circuit has held that “a discharged lawyer with a
contingent fee agreement does have an ‘interest'
for purposes of intervention.” Valley Ranch Dev.
Co. v. F.D.I.C., 960 F.2d 550, 556 (5th Cir. 1992).
However, the U.S. Magistrate Judge did not deny the proposed
Intervenors motion to intervene on the ground that they
lacked an interest in the case, but rather on the ground that
the motion was untimely.
order to intervene as a matter of right under Fed R. Civ. P.
24(a)(2), a party must meet ‘each of the four
requirements of the rule.'” Skinner v. Weslaco
Indep. Sch. Dist., 220 F.3d 584 (5th Cir. 2000) (quoting
Keith v. St. George Packing Co., Inc., 806 F.2d 525,
526 (5th Cir. 1986)). Rule 24(a)(2)'s four requirements
(1) the application for intervention 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 his ability to
protect that interest; (4) the applicant's interest must
be inadequately represented by the existing parties to the
Ford v. City of Huntsville, 242 F.3d 235, 239 (5th
Cir. 2001); cf. Fed. R. Civ. P. 24(a)(2).
respect to the issue of timeliness, the Fifth Circuit has
articulated four factors that a court should consider to
determine whether a motion to intervene is timely:
(1) how long the potential intervener knew or reasonably
should have known of her stake in the case into which she
seeks to intervene; (2) the prejudice, if any, the existing
parties may suffer because the potential intervener failed to
intervene when she knew or reasonably should have known of
her stake in that case; (3) the prejudice, if any, the
potential intervener may suffer if the court does not let her
intervene; and (4) any unusual circumstances that weigh in
favor of or against a finding of timeliness.
John Doe No. 1 v. Glickman, 256 F.3d 371, 376 (5th
Cir. 2001). “These factors are a framework and not a
formula for determining timeliness.” Id.
(internal quotation marks omitted). The Court points out that
the proposed Intervenors do not reference the case law
discussing these ...