August 24, 2019

Tenth Circuit: Intervention Inappropriate Where Interests Adequately Represented by Proper Party

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Tri-State Generation & Transmission Association, Inc. v. New Mexico Public Regulation Commission on Monday, June 1, 2015.

Tri-State Generation & Transmission Association is a Colorado regional non-profit electrical cooperative that provides wholesale electric power. In 1999, Tri-State and Plains Electric Generation & Transmission Cooperative applied to the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (NMPRC) to allow the two entities to merge. They entered into a stipulation which required Tri-State to file an Advance Notice with the NMPRC prior to raising rates, provided member co-ops an opportunity to protest Tri-State’s rates, and provided procedures for the NMPRC to suspend rates, conduct a hearing, and “establish reasonable rates.”

In 2012, Tri-State notified NMPRC of its intent to increase rates in 2013. Kit Carson Electric Cooperative (KCEC), one of Tri-State’s member systems, along with two other member systems, filed protests objecting to the rate increase. The NMPRC suspended Tri-State’s rate increase for 2013. Tri-State again notified NMPRC of its intention to increase rates for 2014, and again NMPRC suspended the rate increase upon protests from KCEC and other member systems. Tri-State filed the present district court against NMPRC in 2013, and amended its complaint to include the 2014 denial.

KCEC sought to intervene as of right pursuant to F.R.C.P. 24(a)(2) and permissively pursuant to 24(b). Tri-State opposed intervention but NMPRC did not. The district court denied intervention both as of right and permissively, and KCED timely appealed.

The Tenth Circuit first evaluated KCEC’s claim that it was improperly denied intervention as of right. Because KCEC’s motion for intervention was timely filed, the Tenth Circuit questioned whether KCEC had an interest that could be impaired by the action’s disposition, and found that it did. The Tenth Circuit then moved to the question of whether KCEC’s interest was adequately represented by NMPRC. The Tenth Circuit found that KCEC’s and NMPRC’s litigation interests were identical, as well as their objectives in the proceeding. Because KCEC failed to overcome the presumption that NMPRC’s representation was adequate, the Tenth Circuit found no error in the district court’s determination that intervention as of right was inappropriate. The Tenth Circuit similarly found no abuse of discretion in the district court’s denial of permissive intervention.

The district court’s denial of KCEC’s intervention motion was affirmed.

Colorado Supreme Court: Grandparents and Relatives Allowed to Intervene in D&N Action Without 3-Month Time-Period Limitation

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in People in Interest of O.C. on Monday, September 9, 2013.

Dependency and Neglect—CRS § 19-3-507(5)(a).

In this dependency and neglect case, the Supreme Court held that CRS § 19-3-507(5)(a) permits parents, grandparents, and relatives to intervene as a matter of right. The Court further held that the statute’s three-month requirement does not apply to parents, grandparents, or relatives. The Court therefore affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals.

Summary and full case available here.

Colorado Court of Appeals: Insurance Company’s Limited Motion to Intervene Wrongfully Denied by Trial Court

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Mauro v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. on Thursday, August 1, 2013.

Intervention in Personal Injury Action—CRCP 24(b)—Protective Order.

State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company (State Farm) appealed from the district court’s order denying its motion to intervene in this personal injury action filed by plaintiffs Maranda G. Mauro, by and through her father, Walter J. Mauro, Jr., and Walter J. Mauro, Jr., individually. The Court of Appeals reversed and the case was remanded with directions.

State Farm sought to intervene in the litigation pursuant to CRCP 24(b) for the limited purpose of opposing the protective order sought by Walter Mauro approving a proposed confidentiality agreement covering his and his daughter’s medical, school, employment, and tax records.

State Farm contended that the district court erred by denying its motion to intervene as a matter of right to challenge the protective order. State Farm’s ability to comply with state law and insurance regulations, as applicable to Maranda Mauro’s claim, is “an interest relating to the property or transaction which is the subject of the action,” as required under the first prong of CRCP 24(a)(2). In addition, State Farm has no other practical alternative for challenging the protective order but to request intervention. Finally, State Farm’s interest is not adequately represented by the existing parties to the action. Therefore, State Farm met all the requirements of CRCP 24(a) and had a limited right to intervene in this case. Accordingly, the district court’s order denying its renewed motion to intervene was reversed and the case was remanded to the district court to allow State Farm to challenge the protective order.

Summary and full case available here.