Intervention by Environmental Group in Suit Against Forest Service Was Not Timely
Description Appeals court affirmed the decision of a trial court that an environmental group could not intervene on the side of the Forest Service in its dispute with private land owners concerning rules affecting a wilderness area in Michigan. The group waited seven months to attempt to intervene, which was too far into the process, so the intervention was not timely.
Topic Environmental Law
Key Words Intervention; Standing
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts The government has owned 95 percent of the land around Crooked Lake in Michigan since 1966. In 1987, it was declared to be part of a wilderness area. The Forest Service (FS) later stated that most boats could not be used in the area. Kathy Stupak-Thrall, who owns and rents out lakefront cabins belonging to her family since before federal ownership occurred, and other private land owners sued to contest this and other regulations that would effectively put her and other lakefront businesses out of business. They argued that the FS had not followed proper procedure. The Wilderness Association moved to intervene on the side of the FS. The district court denied the motion to intervene, ruling that the intervention was not timely. That decision was appealed.
Decision Affirmed. An application to intervene must be 1) timely, 2) the applicant must have a substantial legal interest in the case, 3) the intervention must protect the applicant's rights, and 4) there must be inadequate representation before the court. Failure to meet one of these criteria means the intervention is denied. The intervention was not timely. The case, which was well known to all parties, was filed on May 13, 1998, but the motion to intervene was not filed for seven months. The trial court had told the parties that discovery was to have been completed within six months. That date had passed when the motion to intervene was filed and "the litigation had made extensive progress" before the motion was filed.
Citation Stupak-Thrall v. Glickman, 226 F.3d 467 (6th Cir., 2000)

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