United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Houston Division
AMENDED MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
KEITH P. ELLISON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Amended Memorandum and Order supersedes the Court's
Memorandum and Order dated May 3, 2018, docket number 1116.
The paragraph pertaining to Mr. Israel Garcia's motion
(Doc. No. 925) has been modified.
in this class action bring claims related to extreme heat at
the Wallace Pack Unit in Grimes County, Texas. (Doc. No.
629.) The Court previously certified a class (Doc. No. 473)
and entered preliminary injunctions related to conditions at
the Pack Unit (Doc. Nos. 477, 737). The parties reached
agreement on a proposed class settlement. The Court granted
preliminary approval of the settlement and amended its class
certification order. (Doc. No. 1065.) A final approval hearing is
scheduled for May 8, 2018.
before this Court are various motions filed by people who are
incarcerated in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice
("TDCJ") prison system. The motions include
requests to intervene, requests to be removed from the
action, and requests for miscellaneous relief. For the
reasons set forth below, the motions are denied.
MOTIONS TO INTERVENE
individuals have filed requests with the Court to become
parties to this lawsuit. Movants, who are pro se litigants,
have styled their requests as motions to be added to the
case, motions for joinder, and motions to join. See,
e.g., Doc. Nos. 905, 964, 982. Rule 19 governs mandatory
joinder of parties. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 19. Rule 20
governs permissive joinder of parties. See Fed. R.
Civ. P. 20. Requests for permissive joinder of parties are
made by an existing party to the action. Team Worldwide
Corp. v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 287 F.Supp.3d 651, 656
(E.D. Tex. 2018); In re Smith, 521 B.R. 767, 774
(Bankr.S.D.Tex. 2014). Intervention is the appropriate
mechanism when a non-party asks the Court to add it as a
party to the action. See Fed. R. of Civ. P. 24. The
Court will construe requests to join the action as requests
to intervene under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24.
Rule 24(a), an individual has a right to intervene if he
makes a timely motion and: "1. is given an unconditional
right to intervene by 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."
24(b) allows the Court to permit intervention by an
individual who "has a claim or defense that shares with
the main action a common question of law or fact."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 24(b)(1)(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). In
considering a request for permissive intervention, it is
proper to consider whether the movant will significantly
contribute to the full development of the underlying factual
interests in the suit. United Gas Pipe Line Co., 732
F.2d at 472. Courts are also required to inquire whether
"the intervention will unduly delay or prejudice the
adjudication of the original parties' rights."
movants are Class members who seek intervention. Non-named
class members may intervene in a class action if the
requirements of Rule 24(a) are met. "Intervention of
right under Rule 24(a) and class action certification under
Rule 23 are two separate and distinct theories."
Lelsz v. Kavanagh, 710 F.2d 1040, 1043-44 (5th Cir.
1983) (internal quotation and citation omitted).
Mr. Jim Warren's Motion to be Added to Cases
(Doc. No. 905)
Warren is incarcerated at the Estelle Unit and asks to be
named in this action. (Doc. No. 905.) He resided in the Pack
Unit from April 2008 through October 2010, before this
lawsuit was filed. Id. Mr. Warren is not a member of
the Class. See Doc. No. 1065.
Court recognizes that Mr. Warren may experience dangerous
heat conditions at his unit, but finds that this case is not
the proper avenue for seeking relief. Mr. Warren has not
demonstrated an unconditional right to intervene under Rule
24(a). He has not identified a statute that provides an
unconditional right to intervene, and does not claim an
interest relating to the transaction that is the subject of
this action, constitutionally adequate temperature-related
conditions at the Pack Unit. Mr. Warren is not incarcerated
at the Pack Unit, so this action does not impair or impede
his ability to protect his own interest in safe heat
Court declines to permit intervention under Rule 24(b). His
inclusion in the action would expand the scope of the
litigation, causing significant delay at this late stage in
the case. The parties have reached settlement and await final
approval. The case has already proceeded through extensive
discovery, class certification, evidentiary hearings, and
multiple preliminary injunctions, all of which relate to the
Pack Unit. Disallowing intervention in this case has no
effect on Mr. Warren's ability to bring suit in a
separate action, nor will the ultimate disposition of this
case affect his rights. Mr. Warren's motion is therefore
Mr. David Weir's Motion to Join Class ...