Friday, September 15, 2006

Court of Federal Claims Analyzes Intervention as a Matter of Right and Permissive Intervention

Per Honeywell International Inc. v. United States,71 Fed. Cl. 759 (Fed. Cl. June 23, 2006):

[This] court has determined that L-3 Communications Corporation ("L-3 Communications") may intervene as a matter of right, pursuant to RCFC 24(a)(2). . . [and] has established the requirements for permissive intervention, pursuant to RCFC 24(b)(2). Rule 24 of the United States Court of Federal Claims authorizes the court to grant intervention to an entity that is not a party to the initial suit as a matter of right or by permission. See RCFC 24(a), (b).

“[T]the requirements for intervention [as a matter of right] are to be construed in favor of intervention ... " Am. Maritime Transport, Inc. v. United States, 870 F.2d 1559, 1561 (Fed.Cir.1989) [internal citations omitted]. In light of the fact that Defendants have not presented their defense, damages proceedings have not been held, the court has not entered a final judgment, and the other relevant factors weighing in favor of allowing intervention, the court has determined that L-3 Communications' Motion to Intervene is timely, albeit barely so. See United States v. Am. Tel. & Tel., 642 F.2d 1285, 1295 (D.C. Cir. 1980). [I]ntervention is "proper only to protect those [legally protectible] interests which are of such a direct and immediate character that the intervenor will either gain or lose by the direct legal operation and effect of the judgment." Am. Mar. Transp., 870 F.2d at 1561 [internal citations and quotations omitted]. L-3 Communications' indemnification obligation and position as a potential defendant in a separate proceeding where the issue of the potential infringement of the '914 patent will be an issue more than satisfies a direct and immediate interest relating to the '914 patent and weighs in favor of L-3 Communications' intervention.

The third requirement of RCFC 24(a) is that the movant must be in a position where the disposition of this litigation "may, as a practical matter, impair or impede [the] ability to protect that interest." RCFC 24(a). Since a determination of infringement of the '914 patent would have a persuasive, if not collateral effect, on future litigation in which infringement of the '914 patent is at issue . . . this requirement of RCFC 24(a) is also satisfied. See Klamath Irrigation Dist. v. United States, 64 Fed.Cl. 328, 335 [internal citations and quotations omitted]. Finally, the court must decide whether L-3 Communications' interests are being "adequately represented by existing parties." RCFC 24(a). [T]he court has determined that L-3 Communications has established that the Government and Lockheed Martin do not necessarily have an interest in representing L-3 Communications' interests and that L-3 Communications should be allowed to intervene in this case as a matter of right. See RCFC 24(a)(2).

L-3 Communications also has satisfied the requirements of RCFC 24(b)(2) for permissive intervention. RCFC 24(b)(2) requires that a motion for intervention be timely. The court has determined that L-3 Communications' Motion to Intervene was timely, particularly in light of other relevant factors, i.e., prejudice, that weigh in favor of allowing intervention. RCFC 24(b)(2) also requires the proposed intervenor have a claim or defense that raises a question of law or fact in common with the present action. L-3 Communications has asserted several defenses to Plaintiffs' claim that the CMDU infringes the '914 patent. The final consideration under RCFC 24(b)(2) is whether the intervention would unduly delay or prejudice the adjudication of the rights of the original parties. As discussed earlier, the court does not accept Plaintiffs' assertion that the addition of a third defendant to this action will significantly prejudice Plaintiffs.


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