United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division
Claimant Shaft Jones, pro se
Claimant Latonia Jones, pro se
OPINION AND ORDER
R. CHERRY MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter is before the Court on a document titled Judicial
Notice of Adjudicative Facts [DE 51], filed on April 27,
2016, by Claimant Shaft Jones and a Motion for Joinder of
Parties [DE 71], filed June 29, 2016, by non-party Shaft
Entertainment Inc. (SEI). Claimants Shaft Jones and Latonia
Jones are both proceeding pro se. No response to the
“Judicial Notice of Adjudicative Facts” was
filed, and the time to do so has passed. The Government filed
a response to the Motion for Joinder of Parties on July 8,
2016. No reply was filed, and the deadline to do so has
“Judicial Notice of Adjudicative Facts”
document titled “Judicial Notice of Adjudicative Facts,
” Shaft Jones requests that the Court change his
“complaint” to read “Shaft Jones and
Latonia Jones” every instance where it currently reads
“Shaft Jones.” The document appears to be a
motion to allow Latonia Jones to join in Shaft Jones's
answer. Such a motion, however, must be made by Latonia
Jones. Shaft Jones is not counsel for Latonia Jones and has
no authority to make requests on her behalf. Therefore, the
motion contained within the “Judicial Notice of
Adjudicative Facts” is denied.
Motion for Joinder of Parties
Motion for Joinder of Parties, nonparty SEI asks to be added
to this cause of action as a claimant. A motion for joinder
filed by a nonparty is more properly a motion for
intervention under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24.
See City of Rockford v. Sec'y of HUD, 69 F.R.D.
363, 366 (N.D. Ill. 1975).
24 provides two avenues for intervention, either of which
must be pursued by a timely motion.” Grochocinski
v. Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw, LLP, 719 F.3d 785, 797
(7th Cir. 2013) (citing Heartwood, Inc. v. U.S. Forest
Serv., 316 F.3d 694, 701 (7th Cir.2003)). Courts
evaluate the timeliness of a motion according to four
factors: “(1) the length of time the intervenor knew or
should have known of his interest in the case; (2) the
prejudice caused to the original parties by the delay; (3)
the prejudice to the intervenor if the motion is denied; (4)
any other unusual circumstances.” Id. at
797-98 (quoting Sokaogon Chippewa Cmty. v. Babbitt,
214 F.3d 941, 949 (7th Cir.2000)).
Government represents that it mailed the Complaint, Warrant,
and Direct Notice to SEI in April of 2012. Further, Shaft
Jones signed the instant motion as President and C.E.O. of
SEI, and Shaft Jones filed his own Claim in this litigation
in 2012. SEI should have known about its interest in this
case beginning in 2012. The fact that four years elapsed
before SEI filed a motion to join this litigation weighs
heavily against permitting SEI to intervene.
intervention would prejudice the existing parties. Discovery
had concluded and all parties had filed summary judgment
motions before SEI filed its motion to intervene. This case
has been pending for more than four years, though much of
that time passed while this matter was stayed pending
resolution of a related criminal case. This factor also
weighs against permitting intervention.
Court now considers prejudice to SEI. SEI's motion states
that it “must be joined in this case as a claimant to
protect its interests.” Mot. Joinder, 1, ECF No. 71.
SEI asserts that “it was possible that Jones could
account for from where the property derived, ” but SEI
falls short of asserting that the property at issue in this
forfeiture action belongs to SEI. Id. at 2. Further,
the deadline for SEI to file a claim is governed by Rule G of
the Supplemental Rules for Admiralty or Maritime Claims and
Asset Forfeiture Actions. SEI had thirty-five days after
April 24, 2012, to file its verified claim, and that time has
long since expired. Because SEI has not made a direct
assertion that it has an ownership interest in the property
at issue and because any claim SEI could assert is likely
time-barred, denial of intervention would not result in any
significant prejudice to SEI.
the Court is not aware of any other unusual circumstances
that would lead the Court to find that ...