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Cole v. Collier

United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Houston Division

May 16, 2017

KEITH COLE, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
BRYAN COLLIER, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          KEITH P. ELLISON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         In this case, the Court has been asked by Plaintiffs to require improvements in prison conditions at the Wallace Pack Unit. On June 14, 2016, the Court certified one General Class and two subclasses. That decision is currently on appeal to the Fifth Circuit. In the meantime, the Court has been asked to allow intervention by individuals incarcerated at the William B. Clements Unit in Amarillo, Texas; the Ramsey I Unit in Brazoria, Texas; and the Connally Unit in Kenedy, Texas. (Doc. Nos. 600, 615 & 622.) All three units are facilities under the direction of Defendant Texas Department of Criminal Justice (“TDCJ”). All parties in this case are opposed to the proposed interventions. (Doc. Nos. 614, 618, 619, 621, 624, & 630.) Moreover, it is the opinion of the Court that the proposed interventions would unduly delay the adjudication of the original parties' rights. All three pending Motions to Intervene are therefore denied.

         The Court also finds that Ronald Wayne Johnson's motion challenging the qualification of Plaintiffs' counsel is without merit, and that he does not have standing to request injunctive relief. As such, those motions are also denied.

         I. Motions to Intervene

         Ronald Wayne Johnson, Albert De La Garza, and Robert Leon Roberts have filed motions to intervene pursuant to Rule 24 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Rule 24 provides:

(a) Intervention of Right. On timely motion, the court must permit anyone to intervene who:
(1) is given an unconditional right to intervene by a federal statute; or
(2) claims an interest relating to the property or transaction that is the subject of the action, and is so situated that disposing of the action may as a practical matter impair or impede the movant's ability to protect its interest, unless existing parties adequately represent that interest.
(b) Permissive Intervention.
(1) In General. On timely motion, the court may permit anyone to intervene who:
(A) is given a conditional right to intervene by a federal statute; or
(B) has a claim or defense that shares with the main action a common question of law or fact.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 24. Movants have not claimed an unconditional right to intervene under a federal statute, nor can they claim an interest in the subject of the action sufficient for the “intervention of right” standard under Rule 24(a)(2). The Motions to Intervene are therefore properly considered under the guidelines for “permissive intervention” provided by Rule 24(b).

         Permissive intervention is “wholly discretionary with the [district] court . . . even though there is a common question of law or fact, or the requirements of Rule 24(b) are otherwise satisfied.” Kneeland v. National Collegiate Athletic Ass'n, 806 F.2d 1285, 1289 (5th Cir. 1987) (quoting New Orleans Public Service, Inc. v. United Gas Pipe Line Co., 732 F.2d 452, 470-71 (5th Cir.) (en banc), cert denied, 469 U.S. 1019 (1984) (internal citation omitted); Bush v. Viterna, 740 F.2d 350, 359 (5th Cir. 1984). In considering a request for permissive intervention, it is proper to consider whether the Movants will significantly contribute to the full development of the underlying factual interests in the suit. United Gas Pipe Line Co., ...


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