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Intervention of Parties

Fed. R. Civ. P. 1, 24 provides that the court must permit anyone to intervene in admiralty suits if that person:

  • is given an unconditional right to intervene by a federal statute; or
  • claims an interest relating to the subject matter of the action;
  • shows that denying of permission to intervene will prejudice his/her ability to protect their interest; and
  • shows that the interest is not adequately represented by a party or parties to the action. [i]

Further, on timely motion court can permit any person to intervene if he has a conditional right to intervene by a federal statute or has a claim that shares a common question of law or fact with the main action.  This is called permissive intervention.  Also, the court can permit intervention by a federal or state governmental officer or agency, if a party’s claim or defense is based on a statute or executive order administered by the officer or agency, or any regulation, order, requirement, or agreement issued or made under the statute or executive order.[ii]

In New York State Energy Research & Dev. Authority v. Nuclear Fuel Services, Inc., 102 F.R.D. 18, 21 (W.D.N.Y. 1983), it was held that, “requirement that one must have a significantly protectable interest relating to subject property or transaction cannot be taken to mean that one must have a specific legal or equitable interest in the chose.”

The court will permit intervention of parties only if the intervention will not cause any undue delay or prejudice to the adjudication of rights of the original parties.  A motion to intervene must be served on the parties as provided in the serving and filings of pleading procedures set out in Rule 5 of the Federal Rules of Civil procedure.  The motion must state the grounds for intervention and must be accompanied by a pleading setting out the claim or defense for which intervention is sought.[iii]

In Florida[iv], if the Court has ordered the sale of the vessel or property and the date of the sale is set within fifteen (15) days from the date the party moves for permission to intervene then no person will have an automatic right to intervene in an action.  In such cases, the person seeking permission to intervene must:

  1. File a motion to intervene along a request for an expedited hearing when appropriate;
  2. Include a copy of the expected intervening complaint as an exhibit to the motion;
  3. Prepare and offer for filing a supplemental process of attachment and garnishment and/or a supplemental warrant of arrest;
  4. Serve copies of the motion to intervene along with exhibits and anticipated process to be conducted on each participant;
  5. File a certificate of service indicating the date and manner of service.

Further, in Berry Contr., LP v. M/V Aries Swan, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 82215, 3-4 (S.D. Tex. Oct. 16, 2008), the court held that, “it can condition an intervener’s intervention in an admiralty action based upon a sharing of the custodial costs.”

[i] USCS Fed Rules Civ Proc R 24

[ii] Id.

[iii] Id.

[iv] S. D. Fla. Adm. & Mar. R. E(2)(b)

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