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Klamath Siskiyou Wildlands Center v. United States Bureau of Land Management

United States District Court, D. Oregon, Medford Division

December 11, 2019

KLAMATH SISKIYOU WILDLANDS CENTER, OREGON WILD, et al, Plaintiffs,
v.
UNITED STATES BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT, Defendant, and MURPHY COMPANY Intervenor Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          MARK D. CLARKE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         This case comes before the Court on Murphy Company's Motion to Intervene (#5). For the reasons below, the motion to intervene as a defendant is GRANTED.

         DISCUSSION

         I. Intervention as of Right

         Rule 24(a)(2) provides in relevant part that

On timely motion, the court must permit anyone to intervene 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 is to be liberally construed in favor of the party seeking intervention, Arakaki v. Cayetano, 324 F.3d 1078, 1083 (9th Cir. 2003), because '"a liberal policy in favor of intervention serves both efficient resolution of issues and broadened access to the courts.'" Wilderness Soc 'y. v, U.S. Forest Serv., 630 F.3d 1173, 1179 (9th Cir.2011) (quoting United States v. City of Los Angeles, 288 F.3d 391, 397-98 (9th Cir. 2002)); see also In re Estate of Ferdinand E. Marcos Human Rights Litig, 536 F.3d 980, 985 (9th Cir.2008) ("the requirements for intervention are broadly interpreted in favor of intervention").

         When analyzing a motion to intervene as of right under Rule 24(a)(2), this Court applies a four-part test:

(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 the 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.

Wilderness Soc'y, 630 F.3d at 1177 (internal citations and quotations omitted). In applying this test, "courts are to take all well-pleaded, nonconclusory allegations in the motion to intervene, the proposed complaint or answer in intervention, and declarations supporting the motion as true absent sham, frivolity or other objections." Sw. Ctr. for Biological Diversity v. Berg, 268 F.3d 810, 820 (9th Cir. 2001).

         A. Timeliness

         In assessing timeliness, the Court weighs three factors: "(1) the stage of the proceeding at which an applicant seeks to intervene; (2) the prejudice to other parties; and (3) the reason for and length of the delay." Orange Cty. v. Air Cal, 799 F.2d 535, 537 (9th Cir. 1986) (citing United States v. State of Oregon, 745 F.2d 550, 552 (9th Cir. 1984)).

         Here, interveners filed their motion shortly after the Complaint was filed and before defendant U.S. Bureau of Land Management ("BLM") filed its responsive pleading. Hence, intervener's motion was made at an early stage in the proceedings, and the parties will suffer no prejudice, disruption, or delay from the grant of intervention. See Citizens for Balanced Use v. Mont. Wilderness Ass 'n, 647 F.3d 893, 897 (9th Cir. 2011) (holding that a motion to intervene as of right was timely and would not cause prejudice, disruption, or delay in the proceedings ...


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