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Kane County, Utah v. United States

ELR Citation: 40 ELR 20073
Nos. No. 09-4087, (10th Cir., 03/08/2010)

The Tenth Circuit affirmed a lower court’s denial of environmental groups’ motion to intervene in a county action against the United States to quiet title to several purported rights of way across federal public lands. In considering intervention as of right, the court held that, even if the groups had an interest in the quiet title proceedings, they failed to establish that the United States would not adequately represent their interests: the only issue to be resolved was whether the United States or the county held title to the roads at issue. The groups’ arguments regarding the history of adversarial relations between themselves and the United States and the United States’ past land management decisions were insufficient to establish that the United States would fail to adequately represent the groups’ interests in a title dispute. In considering permissive intervention, the court held that, although the groups were correct in noting that a permissive intervenor is not required to assert a separate or additional claim or defense, nothing prohibits a court from taking that fact into consideration in exercising its discretion. Based on this and the groups’ failure to challenge the other rationales of the lower court for denying permissive intervention, the groups failed to establish that the lower court’s decision was an arbitrary, capricious or manifestly unreasonable judgment.