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The proposed intervenors must meet four criteria before intervention by right is permitted: (1) the application for intervention must be timely; (2) the applicant must have a substantial, legal interest in the subject matter of the pending litigation; (3) the applicant's ability to protect that interest must be impaired; and (4) the present parties do not adequately represent the applicant's interest. The proposed intervenor must prove each of the four factors; failure to meet one of the criteria will require that the motion to intervene be denied.
Appellant nursing homes sought to intervene as of right under Fed. R. Civ. P. 24(a), 25 days after the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee entered a final judgment adopting a state agency's plan to remedy violations of the Medicaid Act and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The approved plan materially modified an earlier plan, which had been distributed to the nursing homes. The district court denied the motions, holding that the nursing homes lacked standing to intervene under U.S. Const. art. III and that their motions to intervene were not timely. The nursing homes appealed.
Did the district court correctly deny the nursing homes’ motion to intervene on the ground of timeliness and standing?
On appeal, the court held that the nursing homes had standing because they showed that they had contractual, statutory, and economic interests that would be directly injured by the plan's "lock-in" provision. The court held that the motions met all four criteria of Fed R. Civ. P. 24(a). The motions were timely because they were filed before the time for filing a notice of appeal expired, the nursing homes had a legitimate purpose for intervention and had no reason to intervene so long as they believed that the state agency and the court would protect their interests or until the plan was adopted, the original parties were not prejudiced, and unusual circumstances militated in favor of intervention. The nursing homes asserted a significant, protected interest in the pending litigation, and their ability to protect that interest was impaired. The original parties no longer adequately represented the nursing homes' interests. Accordingly, the court reversed the district court’s judgment, and the remanded the case to the district court for further proceedings not inconsistent with the court's opinion.