United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division
DAVID PROCTOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
case is before the court on two Motions to Intervene. (Docs.
# 6, 9). The first was filed by Diana Martinez, Raisa
Sequeira, Saulo Corona, Irving Medina, Joey Cardenas,
Florinda P. Chavez, and Chicanos Por La Causa
(“CPLC”) (collectively, “the Martinez
Movants”). (Doc. # 6). The second was filed by Santa
Clara County, California; King County, Washington; and the
City of San José, California (collectively, “the
Local Government Movants”). (Doc. # 9). The Proposed
Defendant-Intervenors have filed their Motions (Docs. # 6, 9)
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24(a) and 24(b).
The Motions are fully briefed (Docs. # 6, 9, 16-18), and are
ripe for review. For the reasons explained below, the Motions
are due to be granted under rule 24(b)(1)(B), as the court
concludes the Proposed Defendant-Intervenors are entitled to
the State of Alabama and Representative Morris J.
“Mo” Brooks, Jr., filed suit on May 21, 2018,
challenging the Final 2020 Census Residence Criteria and
Residence Situations Rule (“Residence Rule”),
which was finalized in February 2018. (Doc. # 1 at ¶ 1).
The Residence Rule “provides that foreign nationals
living in the United States will be counted in the census and
allocated to the state where their usual residence' is
located-regardless of whether they are legally present in the
United States.” (Id.). Plaintiffs raise three
constitutional and two statutory challenges to the Residence
Rule, and contend that the inclusion of undocumented persons
in the 2020 Census will negatively affect Alabama's
access to federal funding as well as the State's
political representation in the House of Representatives and
the Electoral College. (See generally Doc. # 1).
Plaintiffs request (1) that the Residence Rule be declared
unlawful and (2) that the congressional apportionment
following the 2020 Census exclude undocumented persons from
the population figures. (Id. at ¶ 158).
Proposed Defendant-Intervenors filed their respective Motions
on July 12, 2018 (Doc. # 6) and July 17, 2018 (Doc. # 9). The
Martinez Movants are comprised of six voters from California,
Florida, Arizona, and Texas -- states which they indicate
have large populations of Latinos, non-U.S. citizens, and
undocumented immigrants -- and CPLC, an organization that
“works to increase Latino political empowerment in
Arizona.” (Doc. # 6-2 at 6). Similarly, the Local
Government Movants include two counties and a municipality
“that are home to disproportionately large populations
of undocumented persons.” (Doc. # 9 at 6). Both groups
of movants request either leave to intervene as Defendants as
of right pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24(a)(2)
or, in the alternative, permissive intervention pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24(b)(1)(B). (Docs. # 6-2 at
6; 9 at 5).
only opposition to the Motions was filed by the State of
Alabama on July 20, 2018. (Doc. # 16). Alabama argues that
the Motions should be denied without prejudice and suggests
that the court should instead grant amicus status to one or
more of the movants. (Id. at 1-2). Defendants United
States Department of Commerce, Wilbur L. Ross, Bureau of the
Census, and Ron S. Jarmin responded on July 20, 2018 by
declaring that they “take no position one way or
another regarding the motions to intervene.” (Doc. # 15
at 1). The court notes that Defendants have since filed a
Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction, arguing that
Plaintiffs lack Article III standing due to the speculative
nature of the injury they assert. (Doc. # 45).
reasons described below, the Motions to Intervene are due to
be granted, and the Proposed Defendant-Intervenors are
entitled to permissive intervention. And, because the court
finds permissive intervention is appropriate in this case,
the court need not address whether the Proposed
Defendant-Intervenors may intervene as a matter of right
under Rule 24(a).
The Proposed Defendant-Intervenors Are Entitled to Permissive
Rule of Civil Procedure 24(b) permits a party to intervene
if, by timely motion, the party asserts “a claim or
defense that shares with the main action a common question of
law or fact.” The principal consideration is whether
intervention will “unduly prejudice or delay the
adjudication of the rights of the original parties.”
Georgia v. U.S. Army Corps of Eng'rs, 302 F.3d
1242, 1250 (11th Cir. 2002); see also Chiles v.
Thornburgh, 865 F.2d 1197, 1213 (11th Cir. 1989).
Ultimately, the decision to allow a party to permissively
intervene is “wholly discretionary with the
court.” Worlds v. Dep't of Health and
Rehabilitative Servs., 929 F.2d 591, 595 (11th Cir.
1991). Because the Proposed Defendant-Intervenors satisfy
each of these elements, they are entitled to permissive
sure, the briefing on this issue is not targeted at an
assertion that the Proposed Defendant-Intervenors lack a
defense that shares with the main action a common question of
law or fact. Rather, the opposition to intervention addresses
whether the Motions are timely. In determining whether a
motion to intervene is timely, a court should consider the
following factors: “(1) the length of time during which
the proposed intervenor knew or reasonably should have known
of the interest in the case before moving to intervene; (2)
the extent of prejudice to the existing parties as a result
of the proposed intervenor's failure to move for
intervention as soon as it knew or reasonably should have
known of its interest; (3) the extent of prejudice to the
proposed intervenor if the motion is denied; and (4) the
existence of unusual circumstances militating either for or
against a determination that their motion was timely.”
Georgia, 302 F.3d at 1259 (citing Chiles,
865 F.2d at 1213). The same analysis applies whether the
court is considering a motion for intervention as a matter of
right or permissive intervention. United States v.
Jefferson County, 720 F.2d 1511, 1516 (11th Cir. 1983).
Proposed Defendant-Intervenors have filed their Motions at
the earliest stages of this litigation. Plaintiffs filed the
Complaint on May 21, 2018 (Doc. # 1), and the Motions to
Intervene were filed on July 12, 2018 (Doc. # 6) and July 17,
2018 (Doc. # 9), respectively-less than two months after the
Complaint was filed. No. discovery has been conducted, no
scheduling order has been entered, and no motions have been
heard by the court. Permitting intervention at this stage
will not delay the adjudication of the litigants' rights
or the judicial process as “the court [has] yet to take
significant action.” Georgia, 302 F.3d at
1259-60 (finding intervention timely and non-prejudicial
because “the court had yet to take significant action,
” even though the motion was filed 6 months after
intervenor was aware of its interest in the litigation and
discovery had already commenced).
State of Alabama attempts to argue that the Motions to
Intervene are untimely, not because they were filed too late,
but because they were filed too early. (Doc. # 16 at 3).
However, that argument commingles the timeliness and
inadequate representation elements. In arguing that the
Motions are “premature, ” the State points out
that Defendants have not filed an answer and there is no way
to know whether Defendants will adequately represent the
Proposed Defendant-Intervenors' interests.
(Id.). However, the Proposed Defendant-Intervenors
have provided the court with multiple examples of caselaw
from courts in this Circuit rejecting similar arguments.
(Doc. # 17 at 6-8). See Nat. Res. Def. Council v.
Nat'l Park Serv., 2016 WL 5415127, at *2 (M.D. Fla.
Sept. 28, 2016) (finding motion to intervene timely when it
was filed thirty days after the complaint was filed and
before defendants filed a responsive pleading); Defs. Of
Wildlife v. Bureau of Ocean Energy Mgmt., 2010 U.S.
Dist. LEXIS 130581, at *7-8 (S.D. Ala. Dec. 9, 2010) (finding
motion to intervene timely where it was filed before
defendants had filed a responsive pleading); Holmes v.
Educational Credit Management Corp., 2012 WL 1605940, at
*2 (N.D. Fla. April 4, 2012) (finding motion to intervene
timely because there was no prejudice to existing parties
where motion was filed prior to the answer deadline).
Further, and in any event, Defendants filed a Motion to
Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction on November 13, 2018,
arguing that Plaintiffs lack standing to pursue their claims.
(Doc. # 45). Because intervention would not prejudice the
existing parties at this early phase of litigation, the
Motions to Intervene are timely.
the third factor, Proposed Defendant-Intervenors have shown
they will likely suffer prejudice if their Motions to
Intervene are denied. In considering this factor, “the
thrust of the inquiry must be the extent to which a final
judgment in the case may bind the movant even though he is
not adequately represented by an existing party.”
United States v. Jefferson County, 720 F.2d at 1517.
This factor is given particular weight where the proposed
intervenor “has a sufficiently greater stake than the
party that the party's representation may be inadequate
to protect the movant's interest.” Id.
Here, the papers before the court demonstrate that the
Proposed Defendant-Intervenors have a personal stake in the
outcome of this litigation, such that they would be
prejudiced if intervention was not permitted. If the
Residence Rule was vacated, the Martinez Movants have
asserted that their “voting strength and representation
in the House of Representatives and the [E]lectoral
[C]ollege” could be negatively affected. (Doc. # 6-2 at
16). In the case of the Local Government Movants, their
potential prejudice is twofold: (1) their “ability to
maintain accurate internal political ...