United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Greenville Division
MICHAEL P. MILLS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE NORTHERN
DISTRICT OF MISSISSIPPI
matter is before the Court on Larita Ford's
(“Larita”) Motion to Intervene .
For the reasons set forth below, the Court finds that Larita
should not be permitted to intervene in this action and that
her motion should therefore be denied.
Jaakovis Ford (“Jaakovis”) was employed by
Pinnacle Agricultural Distribution, Inc.
(“Pinnacle”) as a general laborer at the
company's Rosedale, Mississippi, facility. Defendant
Industrial Iron Works, Inc. d/b/a Adams Fertilizer Equipment
(“Adams”) manufactured a “seed/fertilizer
load out conveyor, ” which was installed at
Pinnacle's facility. On April 11, 2015, Jaakovis was
shoveling fertilizer onto the conveyor and “his pants
leg became caught by the exposed end of a rotating unguarded
conveyor shaft.” As a result, Jaakovis was severely
injured and lost much of his right leg.
subsequently made a claim against Pinnacle and Starr
Indemnity & Liability Company's
(“Starr”), Pinnacle's workers'
compensation insurance carrier, pursuant to the Mississippi
Workers' Compensation Act. Pinnacle asserts that it has
paid $161, 045.13 to Jaakovis in workers' compensation
benefits and medical expenses.
November 9, 2015, Jaakovis filed suit against Adams-the
manufacturer of the conveyor-in the Circuit Court of Bolivar
County, Mississippi, asserting claims for negligence, breach
of warranties, strict tort liability, and products liability
under Mississippi Code § 11-1-63 et seq. Adams
timely removed the action to this Court. Pinnacle and Starr
subsequently filed a motion to intervene, asserting that,
pursuant to Mississippi Code § 71-3-71, they were
entitled to reimbursement from Adams for the payments they
made to Ford. The Court granted their motion to intervene.
action was initially set for trial on February 6, 2017. The
parties participated in a lengthy settlement conference on
January 4, 2017, and a telephonic status conference on
January 17, 2017. On January 18, 2017, the Court received
confirmation that Jaakovis, Adams, Pinnacle, and Starr had
reached a tentative settlement in the case. However, on
January 17, 2017-the night before the parties reached the
tentative settlement-Larita filed the present motion to
intervene. In the motion, Larita asserts that she is
Jaakovis' wife, “entitl[ing her] to Fifty Percent
(50%) of Plaintiff's final settlement.” Larita also
asserts that she has three minor children with Jaakovis and
that “Plaintiff is currently in arrears in child
support for the three minor children that they have together
in the amount of approximately Twenty Five Thousand Nine
Hundred Fifty Dollars and Forty Cent [sic] ($25, 950.40), and
it continues to accrue on a monthly basis.” She thus
requests that the Court withhold part of the final settlement
in this case to satisfy these obligations, along with
attorney's fees and court costs she has incurred. Prior
to filing the present motion, Larita had not been involved in
any aspect of this case. As a result of the tentative
settlement, the Court issued a stay of the pending motions
and continued the February 6, 2017, trial setting.
the unusual procedural posture of the case, the Court issued
a show cause order, instructing each of the parties to file a
memorandum concerning Larita's motion to intervene.
Specifically, the Court ordered the parties to “file a
memorandum with authorities explaining their position as to
why [Larita's] motion to intervene should be granted or
denied.” Each of the parties timely filed their
the absence of a federal statute conferring an unconditional
right to intervene, a motion to intervene as of right is
governed by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24(a)(2).”
Ross v. Marshall, 426 F.3d 745, 753 (5th Cir. 2005).
Under Rule 24(a)(2), a motion to intervene is proper when:
(1) the motion to intervene is timely; (2) the potential
intervener asserts an interest that is related to the
property or transaction that forms the basis of the
controversy in the case into which she seeks to intervene;
(3) the disposition of that case may impair or impede the
potential intervener's ability to protect her interest;
and (4) the existing parties do not adequately
represent the potential intervener's interest.
Id. (quoting Saldano v. Roach, 363 F.3d
545, 551 (5th Cir. 2004)) (emphasis added). “Although
failure to satisfy any one element precludes the
applicant's right to intervene, . . . the inquiry under
subsection (a)(2) is a flexible one . . . [and] must be
measured by a practical rather than technical
yardstick.'” Id. (quoting Edwards v.
City of Houston, 78 F.3d 983, 999 (5th Cir. 1996)).
Moreover, this Court has held that “[t]he party seeking
to intervene must demonstrate that they have an interest that
is ‘significantly protectable.'” J.T.
Shannon Lumber Co., Inc. v. Gilco Lumber, Inc., 2008 WL
4553048, at *1 (N.D. Miss. Oct. 7, 2008).
the Court is unaware of any federal statute conferring upon
Larita an unconditional right to intervene in this cause, her
motion is governed by Rule 24(a)(2). Accordingly, she must
satisfy each of the four elements listed above for
intervention to be proper.
Larita's motion to ...