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Bloomington, City of v. Westinghouse Elec. Corp.

Citation: 17 ELR 21185
No. No. 85-2881, 824 F.2d 531/26 ERC 1037/(7th Cir., 06/19/1987) Citizen intervention denied

The court holds that Indiana Public Interest Research Group (InPIRG), a citizens' group, may not intervene in a suit brought by the federal, state, and municipal governments for polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contamination of the city's sewer system and treatment plant and several landfills. The government plaintiffs had negotiated a proposed consent decree with Westinghouse Electric Corporation, and circulated it for public comment. The court holds that InPIRG's motion to intervene was not timely under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24 because, first, InPIRG moved to intervene 11 months after the parties announced they were entering settlement negotiations, and three years after the commencement of the litigation. Secondly, the original parties would be prejudiced by InPIRG's delay, since intervention now would render worthless the completed settlement discussions, which took approximately 14 months. Delay to allow InPIRG's intervention would also postpone the PCB cleanup. Thirdly, InPIRG will suffer little prejudice if its intervention motion is denied, since public comment was solicited before the settlement was finalized, and the Justice Department submitted InPIRG's comments to the district court for review prior to its approval of the settlement. Finally, there are no unusual circumstances apparent in this case.

Counsel for Plaintiffs-Appellants
Gary A. Davis
500 Burwell Bldg., 602 S. Gay St., Knoxville TN 37902
(615) 637-0693

Counsel for Defendants-Appellants
A. Bruce White
Karaganis & White, Ltd.
150 N. Wacker Dr., Chicago IL 60606
(312) 836-1177

Ellen J. Durkee
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-3888

Before CUDAHY and COFFEY, Circuit Judges and FAIRCHILD, Senior Circuit Judge.