United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Fort Wayne Division
MICHELLE A. HOFFMAN, Personal Representative of the Estate of David L. Hoffman, Plaintiff,
JERNANE L. COLEMAN, et al., Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER
Collins, United States Magistrate Judge
the Court is motion to intervene (DE 27) filed by the State
of Indiana ex rel. Indiana Department of
Transportation (“the State”) on January 12, 2017,
seeking leave of Court to intervene as a plaintiff in this
suit pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24. No party
has filed a response to the State's motion, and the time
to do so has now passed.
following reasons, the State's motion will be DENIED.
Factual and Procedural Background
Michelle Hoffman, personal representative of the estate of
David Hoffman, filed this suit against Defendants Jernane L.
Coleman, Johnson Transportation Solutions, LLC, and JB Hunt
Transportation, Inc., in Grant Circuit Court, Indiana, on May
4, 2016. (DE 6). The complaint alleges that on October 29,
2015, Coleman recklessly or negligently drove his tractor and
trailer through the intersection of State Road 22 and State
Road 13 in disregard to the traffic control devices and
failed to yield to a vehicle driven by David Hoffman, who
died as a result of the collision. (DE 6 ¶¶ 16,
timely removed the case here based on diversity jurisdiction,
28 U.S.C. § 1332. (DE 1; DE 12). The Court held a
preliminary pretrial conference on July 19, 2016, setting the
following deadlines: February 15, 2017, for Plaintiff to seek
leave to join additional parties and to amend the pleadings;
March 17, 2017, for Defendants to seek leave to join
additional parties and to amend the pleadings; and August 15,
2017, for the completion of all discovery. (DE 22; DE 23).
State filed the instant motion to intervene (DE 28) on
January 12, 2017, seeking to recover from Defendants damages
to its real estate, improvements, and fixtures in the amount
of $6, 180.60 allegedly caused by the accident.
Rule of Civil Procedure 24 provides for intervention both as
of right and permissively. Under Rule 24(a), “[a] party
has a right to intervene when: (1) the motion to intervene is
timely filed; (2) the proposed intervenors possess an
interest related to the subject matter of the action; (3)
disposition of the action threatens to impair that interest;
and (4) the named parties inadequately represent that
interest.” Wis. Educ. Ass'n Council v.
Walker, 705 F.3d 640, 657 (7th Cir. 2013) (citing
Ligas ex rel. Foster v. Maram, 478 F.3d 771, 773
(7th Cir. 2007)). Intervention of right will not be allowed
unless all four of these requirements are met. See
Sokaogon Chippewa Cmty. v. Babbitt, 214 F.3d 941, 946
(7th Cir. 2000) (citation omitted). “The applicant
bears the burden of proving that each of these elements has
been satisfied.” Builders Ass'n of Greater Chi.
v. City of Chi., 170 F.R.D. 435, 440 (N.D. Ill. 1996)
(citing Am. Nat'l Bank & Tr. Co. v. City of
Chi., 865 F.2d 144, 146 (7th Cir. 1989)).
intervention is allowed under Rule 24(b), once again upon
timely application, when an applicant's claim or defense
and the main action have a question of law or fact in
common.” Sokaogon Chippewa Cmty., 214 F.3d at
949 (internal quotation marks omitted). A party seeking to
intervene under Rule 24(b) must also establish an independent
basis for subject matter jurisdiction. Pension Benefit
Guar. Corp. v. Slater Steels Corp., 220 F.R.D. 339, 341
(N.D. Ind. 2004) (citing Sec. Ins. Co. of Hartford v.
Schipporeit, Inc., 69 F.3d 1377, 1381 (7th Cir. 1995)).
“Permissive intervention under Rule 24(b) is wholly
discretionary and will be reversed only for abuse of
discretion.” Sokaogon Chippewa Cmty., 214 F.3d
at 949 (citation omitted).
State does not indicate in its motion whether it is seeking
intervention of right pursuant to Rule 24(a) or permissive
intervention pursuant to Rule 24(b). Nor does it address,
much less discuss, the required elements for either method of
intervention of right under Rule 24(a), the State's
motion is timely as it moved to intervene eight months after
Plaintiff filed her complaint, and there is no indication
that any of the parties would be prejudiced by this delay.
See Reich v. ABC/York-Estes Corp., 64 F.3d 316, 321
(7th Cir. 1995) (finding that a delay of 19 months from the
time the suit was filed to the time intervention was sought
was not untimely). The deadlines for seeking leave to amend
the pleadings have not yet passed, and discovery is open for
seven more months. See Williams v. Am. Equip. &
Fabricating Corp., No. 09-1168, 2010 WL 1881998, at *2
(C.D. Ill. May 10, 2010) (finding a motion to intervene
timely where it was filed prior to the deadlines for any
amendments to the pleadings and plenty of time remained
within the discovery period). Furthermore, it is obvious that
the State has an interest in this litigation as it alleges
that its real estate, improvements, and fixtures were damaged
in the accident in the amount of $6, 180.60. (DE 28-1 ¶
13). Therefore, the State easily satisfies the first two
factors required in intervention of right.
State stumbles, however, at establishing the third factor. It
is unclear how the disposition of this action threatens to
impair the State's interest, as it seems that the State
is not impeded from filing a separate lawsuit in state court
against Defendants to recover the property damages that the
State seeks. As a result, the State has not carried its
burden of showing that all of the four requirements
of Rule 24(a) have been satisfied with respect ...