United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division
D. MERRYDAY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
organizations sue (Doc. 1) the Army Corps of Engineers, the
Department of the Interior, and the Fish and Wildlife Service
and allege that the Army Corps of Engineers's issuance to
Mosaic Fertilizer of a Clean Water Act permit violates the
Clean Water Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the
Endangered Species Act, and the Administrative Procedure Act.
Under the permit, Mosaic may extract phosphate from several
thousand acres in Hardee County but must mitigate the
environmental effect of the mining. Mosaic moves (Doc. 13)
unopposed to intervene under Rule 24(a), Federal Rules of
intervene under Rule 24(a), a prospective intervenor must
move timely to intervene. Also, the movant must claim an
interest “relating to the property or transaction that
is the subject of the action.” Additionally, the movant
must show that the disposition of the action might “as
a practical matter impair or impede the movant's ability
to protect its interest.” Finally, the movant must show
that the parties inadequately represent the movant's
interest. Davis v. Butts, 290 F.3d 1297, 1300 (11th
Cir. 2002) (quoting Rule 24(a)).
Mosaic moved timely to intervene. The plaintiffs sued on
March 15, and Mosaic moved two days later to intervene.
Mosaic's interest “relating” to the Clean
Water Act permit warrants intervention. Mosaic's
interest, that is, the permit, directly and immediately
“relat[es]” to the plaintiff's claims, which
undertake to invalidate the permit. See Sierra Club, Inc.
v. E.P.A., 358 F.3d 516, 518 (7th Cir. 2004)
(Easterbrook, J.) (granting a permit holder's motion to
intervene in an action that sought invalidation of the permit
and explaining that “[p]ersons whose legal interests
are at stake are appropriate intervenors”).
Invalidating the permit will delay or halt Mosaic's plan
to mine phosphate on land that Mosaic owns. See Diaz v.
Southern Drilling Corp., 427 F.2d 1118, 1124 (5th Cir.
1970) (“Interests in property are the most elementary
type of right that Rule 24(a) is designed to protect.”)
the disposition of this action might - as a practical matter
- impede Mosaic's ability to protect the permit. The
“potential stare decisis effect” of an
action supplies the “practical disadvantage which
warrants intervention as of right.” Chiles v.
Thornburgh, 865 F.2d 1197, 1214 (11th Cir. 1989). As
Mosaic correctly observes, “[t]his litigation creates a
risk of unfavorable precedent for Mosaic.” (Doc. 13 at
20) Mosaic regularly applies for permits, and a decision in
the plaintiffs' favor might adversely affect Mosaic's
interest in mining and processing phosphate to manufacture
phosphatic fertilizers and associated products.
the parties inadequately represent Mosaic's interest. The
plaintiffs, which allege that “[i]ndustrial
phosphate[-]mining practices squander” Florida's
“rich natural heritage” by “degrading and
destroying huge swaths of life-giving watersheds” (Doc.
1 at 2), directly oppose Mosaic's interest. And the
governmental defendants' interest in resource management
differs from Mosaic's interest in mining and
manufacturing phosphatic products for agriculture and
industry. Georgia v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,
302 F.3d 1242, 1259 (11th Cir. 2002) (“[A] federal
defendant with a primary interest in the management of a
resource [lacks] interests identical to those of an entity
with economic interests in the use of that resource.”)
(citing Sierra Club v. Espy, 18 F.3d 1202 (5th Cir.
1994) (Smith, J.) (“The government must represent the
broad public interest, not just the economic concerns of the
Rule 24© requires a prospective intervenor to submit a
“pleading that sets out the claim or defense for which
intervention is sought.” Mosaic fails to submit a
pleading. But Piambino v. Bailey, 757 F.2d 1112,
1121-22 (11th Cir. 1985), holds that a prospective intervenor
need not submit a pleading if the parties “kn[o]w the
nature of ” the prospective intervenor's claim or
defense. 757 F.2d at 1121. Because Mosaic's motion
adequately informs the parties about Mosaic's
“position on the subject matter litigation” (Doc.
13 at 5), Mosaic need not submit a pleading in conjunction
with the motion to intervene.
moves timely to intervene, and intervention permits Mosaic to
protect its economic interest, which the parties inadequately
represent. The unopposed motion (Doc. 13) to intervene under
Rule 24(a) is GRANTED. No ...