United States District Court, W.D. Texas, Austin Division
PITMAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is the motion of Debra L. Stephens
(“Stephens”) to Intervene as Plaintiff. (Dkt.
17). By way of her motion, Stephens asserts that she
satisfies the requirements for intervention as of right and
permissive intervention and thus requests leave to intervene
as a plaintiff in this matter. The Court disagrees and, for
the reasons that follow, denies her motion.
Blayne D. Williams, formerly a police officer employed by the
Austin Police Department (“APD”), brought this
action against the City of Austin, the Austin Police
Department, Police Chief Art Acevedo, police monitor Margo
Frasier, and police commander Fred Fletcher.
allegations largely concerned disciplinary actions taken
against him up to the eventual termination of his employment
in the summer of 2015. Plaintiff asserted that this
discipline violated several of his federal constitutional
rights and was contrary to state law and his collective
bargaining agreement. Plaintiff also raised claims concerning
Acevedo's decision to terminate APD's secondary
employment contract and purported retaliation following his
reports of criminal activities by City employees.
Court dismissed Plaintiff's claims on July 10, 2017,
finding that the allegations contained in Plaintiff's
complaint failed to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted. (See Order, Dkt. 16). The court dismissed
several claims with prejudice but granted Plaintiff leave to
amend his other claims within fourteen days of the issuance
of the order. The deadline to file an amended complaint was
thus July 24, 2017. Plaintiff did not file an amended
complaint and, on July 25, 2017, the Court entered final
judgment dismissing Plaintiff's claims with prejudice.
filed her motion to intervene on July 17, 2017, one week
after the Court granted the motion to dismiss Plaintiff's
action. She claims to have a direct interest in the
litigation because she, like Plaintiff, is claiming
discrimination and retaliation leading to her termination
from the APD Laboratory. Stephens's allegations concern
gender discrimination, rather than the racial discrimination
that Plaintiff complained of. The individuals Stephens
accuses of perpetuating discrimination are also different
from those named as defendants in Plaintiff's actions.
Additionally, it is unclear when the events described in
Stephens's motion have taken place.
Rule of Civil Procedure 24 provides for two avenues to
intervene in an action: intervention of right and permissive
intervention. A person may intervene as of right if a federal
statute gives her an unconditional right to do so. Absent a
statutory right, however, a movant must satisfy four
requirements in order to intervene as of right under Rule
24(a): (1) the motion to intervene must be timely; (2) the
movant must demonstrate an interest that is related to the
property or transaction forming the basis of the action in
which she seeks to intervene; (3) the disposition of the main
action must impair or impede the movant's ability to
protect her interest; and (4) the existing parties must not
adequately represent the movant's interest. Saldano
v. Roach, 363 F.3d 545, 551 (5th Cir. 2004).
“Failure to satisfy any one requirement precludes
intervention of right.” Haspel & Davis Milling
& Planting Co. Ltd. v. Bd. of Levee Comm'rs, 493
F.3d 570, 578 (5th Cir. 2007).
movant does not meet the requirements for intervention of
right, a court may still allow permissive intervention if a
federal statute provides the individual with a conditional
right to intervene, or if she “has a claim or defense
that shares with the main action a common question of law or
fact.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 24(b). The Court must consider
whether the intervention will unduly delay or prejudice the
adjudication of the rights of the original parties in
exercising its discretion. Taylor Commc'ns Grp., Inc.
v. Sw. Bell Tel. Co., 172 F.3d 385, 389 (5th Cir. 1999).
A district court's decision to deny permissive
intervention will be overturned only in extraordinary
circumstances where the court has abused its discretion.
Trans Chem. Ltd. v. China Nat'l Mach. Imp. & Exp.
Corp., 332 F.3d 815, 825 (5th Cir. 2003).
Intervention as of Right
first argues that she has a statutory right to intervene in
this action under 42 U.S.C. § 2000h-2. That statute
provides that the United States Attorney General may
intervene in the name of the United States in equal
protection actions under the Fourteenth Amendment if the
Attorney General certifies that the case is of general public
importance. The statute is inapplicable because Stephens is
not the Attorney General.
Court likewise concludes that Stephens does not satisfy the
requirements for intervention under Rule 24(a)(2). First, she
has not established an interest in Plaintiff's action.
The Fifth Circuit has held that “the applicant's
interest relating to the subject of the action must be
‘direct and substantial' and must be
‘something more than an economic interest.'”
Trans Chem. Ltd., 332 F.3d at 823. “Moreover,
‘the interest must be one which the substantive law
recognizes as belonging to or being owned by the
applicant.'” Hartford Cas. Ins. Co. v. Border
States Traffic Supply, Inc., No. EP-08-CV-118-PRM, 2009
WL 224107, at *2 (W.D. Tex. Jan. 12, 2009) (quoting
Shaunfield v. Citicorp Diners Club, Inc., 2005 Dist.
LEXIS 11244, at *17 (N.D. Tex. June 8, 2005)). Stephens has
identified no such interest in Plaintiff's action, beyond
claiming unrelated denial of equal protection on the basis of
her gender-not her race-and retaliation for ...