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Lopez-Aguilar v. Marion County Sheriff's Department

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

January 5, 2018

MARION COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT, Marion County Sheriff JOHN R. LAYTON, in his official capacity and his individual capacity, Marion County Sheriff's Sergeant DAVIS, in his individual capacity, Defendants. STATE OF INDIANA, Intervenor Defendant (Putative). UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Interested Party.



         Now before the Court is the State of Indiana's Motion to Intervene for the Limited Purpose of Appeal. Dkt. 53. On November 7, 2017, we entered final judgment in this lawsuit, Dkt. 50, by approving and entering the parties' Stipulated Judgment, Dkt. 37, for the reasons explained in our contemporaneously issued Memorandum Order. Dkt. 49. Nearly a month later, on December 4, 2017, the State of Indiana (“the State”) filed a Motion for Extension of Time to Appeal, Dkt. 54, which we granted, Dkt. 58, to permit full consideration of the instant Motion to Intervene. The parties have now been heard in opposition to the State's motion, Dkts. 59 (Plaintiff), 60 (Defendants), and the State has been heard in reply. Dkt. 61. Upon due consideration, for the reasons below, the State's motion is DENIED.

         Standard of Decision

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24 provides that a nonparty to an action, on timely motion, may intervene in the action under certain circumstances. Fed.R.Civ.P. 24(a), (b). The nonparty is entitled to intervention of right if a federal statute gives it “an unconditional right” to intervene, id. at (a)(1), or “if the [non]party has ‘an interest' and is ‘so situated that the disposition of the action may as a practical matter impair or impede [its] ability to protect that interest, unless [its] interest is adequately represented by existing parties.” Ligas ex rel. Foster v. Maram, 478 F.3d 771, 773 (7th Cir. 2007) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 24(a)(2)). As restated by the Seventh Circuit, under Rule 24(a)(2), Fed. R. Civ. P., the putative intervenor must “establish that[] (1) [its] motion[] w[as] timely; (2) [it] possess[es] an interest related to the subject matter of the action; (3) disposition of the action threatens to impair that interest; and (4) the parties fail to represent adequately [its] interest.” Id. (original alterations, ellipsis, quotations, and citation omitted). A district court has no discretion in determining whether the nonparty has satisfied these elements, apart from timeliness. See Id. (all elements but timeliness reviewed de novo).

         The nonparty may be entitled to permissive intervention where it “is given a conditional right to intervene by federal statute[, ]” Fed.R.Civ.P. 24(b)(1)(A), or “where the applicant's claim and the main action share common issues of law or fact and where there is independent jurisdiction.” Ligas, 478 F.3d at 775 (restating Fed.R.Civ.P. 24(b)(1)(B)). Permissive intervention by a “governmental officer or agency” is also authorized where “a party's claim or defense is based on” a statute, executive order, or other legal obligation flowing from either that is “administered by the officer or agency[.]” Fed.R.Civ.P. 24(b)(2). No. matter the grounds on which permissive intervention is sought, “the court must consider whether the intervention will unduly delay or prejudice the adjudication of the original parties' rights.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 24(b)(3). “This language suggests that intervention postjudgment-which necessarily disturbs the final adjudication of the parties' rights-should generally be disfavored.” Bond v. Utreras, 585 F.3d 1061, 1071 (7th Cir. 2009).


         In the course of approving the parties' Stipulated Judgment, we held that the Stipulated Judgment did not impose on Defendants obligations that were contrary to Indiana law. Mem. Order (Dkt. 49) 16-31. Specifically, we held that Indiana law did not require Defendants' cooperation with federal immigration detainers or removal orders. Id. We concluded that the only arguable locus for such a cooperation requirement, Section 4, Ind. Code ch. 5-2-18.2, prohibiting a unit of local government (like Defendants) from implementing a policy that “limit[s] or restrict[s] the enforcement of federal immigration laws to less than the full extent permitted by federal law[, ]” Ind. Code § 5-2-18.2-4 (emphasis added), did not in fact require such cooperation “for three reasons: (1) the text of the statute does not require cooperation; (2) the [Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. §§ 1101 et seq., ] does not permit such cooperation . . .; and (3) the Fourth Amendment does not permit such cooperation . . . .” Mem. Order 31.

         The State, however, disagrees with this interpretation, believing that Indiana law does require such cooperation, and seeks to intervene for the purpose of obtaining vacation of the Stipulated Judgment on appeal. Mot. Interv. (Dkt. 53) 4. The State takes issue, not with our approval as such of the Stipulated Judgment-as the State acknowledges, “this Court could theoretically approve the [Stipulated Judgment] regardless” of our statutory interpretation, Mot. Interv. 15, see Mem. Order 10-12 (bases for entry of consent decree)-but with the particular decisional path we took to reach that conclusion. “If [its] motion to intervene is not granted, ” the State argues, “a binding interpretation of Indiana statutes will be enshrined without ever hearing from the State[.]” Mot. Interv. 3.

         The State contends it is entitled to intervention both of right and by permission. Id. We disagree. The State has no standing to seek either and both are untimely sought. Moreover, the State fails to satisfy the respectively applicable procedural standards.

         I. The State Must, But Cannot, Show Standing to Intervene

         No matter whether the State seeks intervention of right or by permission, the State concedes that it must show Article III standing to intervene. Mot. Interv. 4. Though the interaction of Rule 24 and Article III is not definitively settled, see Bond v. Utreras, 585 F.3d 1061, 1069-70 (7th Cir. 2009), the State's concession is well taken.

         Article III of the Constitution “limits the jurisdiction of federal courts to ‘Cases' and ‘Controversies[.]'” Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 559 (1992) (quoting U.S. Const. art. III, § 1). One of the principal mechanisms for identifying justiciable cases or controversies is the doctrine of standing. Id. at 560. Defendants as well as plaintiffs must show standing to litigate. Arizonans for Official English v. Arizona, 520 U.S. 43, 64 (1997) (citing Diamond v. Charles, 476 U.S. 54, 56 (1986) (standing to defend on appeal)). Where, as here, a putative intervenor-defendant seeks to continue a case or controversy after one no longer exists between the original parties, “[the] intervenor's right to continue a suit in the absence of the party on whose side intervention was permitted [or is sought] is contingent upon a showing by the intervenor that [it] fulfills the requirements of Art[icle] III.” Diamond, 476 U.S. at 68; also Hollingsworth v. Perry, 133 S.Ct. 2652, 2661-62 (2013).

         The “irreducible constitutional minimum” of standing is injury-in-fact traceable to the conduct complained of and redressable by a favorable ruling from a federal court. Lujan, 504 U.S. at 560. “Injury in fact” is “an invasion of a legally protected interest which is (a) concrete and particularized and (b) actual or imminent, not conjectural or hypothetical.” Id. (quotations and citations omitted). Traceability requires that the injury complained of be “fairly traceable to the challenged action . . ., and not the result of the independent action of some third party not before the court.” Id. (quotations, ellipses, alterations, and citation omitted). Finally, redressability requires that it be “likely, as opposed to merely speculative, that the injury will be redressed by a favorable decision.” Id. at 561 (quotations and citation omitted). The burden of proving these three elements rests with the litigant invoking federal jurisdiction: here, the State. Id.

         The State has not carried that burden. As for injury-in-fact, it is well established that a state has a legally protected interest, sufficient to confer standing, “‘in the continued enforceability' of its laws that is harmed by a judicial decision declaring a state law unconstitutional.” Hollingsworth, 133 S.Ct. at 2664 (quoting Maine v. Taylor, 477 U.S. 131, 137 (1986)). But, as the State acknowledges, neither the Stipulated Judgment nor our Memorandum Order approving it purports to invalidate any part of state law. State's Reply Br. Supp. Mot. Interv. (Dkt. 61) ...

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