United States District Court, District of Columbia
Document, : 6
MEMORANDUM & ORDER GRANTING THE PILOTS
ASSOCIATIONS' MOTION TO INTERVENE
RUDOLPH CONTRERAS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
in this case are shipping companies and related associations
that are affected by the costs of shipping services.
See Compl. ¶¶ 6-14, ECF No. 1; Pls.'
Resp. Mot. Intervene (“Pls.' Resp.”) 1 n.1,
ECF No. 10. Because Plaintiffs' vessels transit the
waters of the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Great Lakes system,
Plaintiffs' costs include required payments of pilotage
rates to United States and Canadian pilots. See
Compl. ¶ 19; Pls.' Resp. 1 n.1. Under the Great
Lakes Pilotage Act of 1960,  Plaintiffs must use United States
and Canadian pilots when transiting those waters. Compl.
¶ 19. The United States Coast Guard prescribes the
relevant pilotage rates by regulation and annually reviews
them. Id. ¶¶ 19-20.
have initiated the present action against the Coast Guard and
its Commandant to challenge the Coast Guard's 2016 rule
on pilotage rates, which established new rate setting
methodologies and resulted in rate increases. See
Id. ¶¶ 2-5, 15-16. See generally
Great Lakes Pilotage Rates-2016 Annual Review and Changes to
Methodology, 81 Fed. Reg. 11, 908 (Mar. 7, 2016) (to be
codified in scattered sections of 46 C.F.R.). Plaintiffs
contend that the Coast Guard violated the Administrative
Procedure Act (“APA”) in numerous ways. See
Id. ¶¶ 4, 29-83 (alleging APA violations under
5 U.S.C. § 706(2)(A), (C), (D)). As relief, Plaintiffs
ask the Court to set aside the Coast Guard's final rule,
to remand this case to the Coast Guard so that it may review
and revise its rule, and to order the Coast Guard to
“immediately” reduce its 2016 pilotage rates by
20.6 percent. See Id. at 20-21.
Defendants filed their answer, three pilots associations
(“Pilots Associations”) filed a joint motion to
intervene in support of Defendants in this case. See
Mot. of St. Lawrence Seaway Pilots Ass'n, Lakes Pilots
Ass'n, Inc., and Western Great Lakes Pilots Ass'n,
LLP to Intervene Supp. Defs. (“Mot. Intervene”),
ECF No. 6. The Pilots Associations are “the three
pilotage associations authorized to provide pilotage services
on the Great Lakes” under the Great Lakes Pilotage Act.
Id. at 1-2; see 46 U.S.C. § 9304(a).
Their member pilots guide foreign vessels on the Great Lakes.
Mem. P. & A Supp. Mot. Intervene (“Mem. Supp. Mot.
Intervene”) 2, ECF No. 6-1. The Pilots Associations
seek to intervene in this case by right or, alternatively,
with the Court's permission. See Mot. Intervene
Plaintiffs nor Defendants oppose the motion to intervene.
See Pls.' Resp. 1; Defs.' Statement of
Position Regarding Pls.' Resp. Mot. Intervene
(“Defs.' Statement”) 1 n.1, ECF No. 12.
Plaintiffs urge the Court, however, to impose conditions on
the Pilots Association's participation in this case.
See Pls.' Resp. 1-3. For the reasons that
follow, the Court will grant the motion to intervene without
imposing Plaintiffs' requested conditions.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24(a),
[o]n timely motion, the court must permit anyone to intervene
who . . . claims an interest relating to the property or
transaction that is the subject of the action, and is so
situated that disposing of the action may as a practical
matter impair or impede the movant's ability to protect
its interest, unless existing parties adequately represent
Fed. R. Civ. P. 24(a)(2); see also Roane v.
Leonhart, 741 F.3d 147, 151 (D.C. Cir. 2014) (“A
district court must grant a timely motion to intervene that
seeks to protect an interest that might be impaired by the
action and that is not adequately represented by the
parties.”). The D.C. Circuit has read Rule 24(a) as
requiring four distinct showings before a party may intervene
as a matter of right: “(1) the application to intervene
must be timely; (2) the applicant must demonstrate a legally
protected interest in the action; (3) the action must
threaten to impair that interest; and (4) no party to the
action can be an adequate representative of the
applicant's interests.” Karsner v.
Lothian, 532 F.3d 876, 885 (D.C. Cir. 2008) (internal
quotation marks omitted) (quoting SEC v. Prudential Sec.
Inc., 136 F.3d 153, 156 (D.C. Cir. 1998)). In addition,
the D.C. Circuit has held that “intervenors must
demonstrate Article III standing.” Deutsche Bank
Nat'l Trust Co. v. FDIC, 717 F.3d 189, 193 (D.C.
neither Plaintiffs nor Defendants oppose the Pilots
Associations' motion to intervene, the Court addresses
the merits of the motion under the D.C. Circuit's
four-prong test only briefly. With respect to the first
requirement, the timeliness of the motion to intervene,
“courts should take into account (a) the time elapsed
since the inception of the action, (b) the probability of
prejudice to those already party to the proceedings, (c) the
purpose for which intervention is sought, and (d) the need
for intervention as a means for preserving the putative
intervenor's rights.” Wildearth Guardians v.
Salazar, 272 F.R.D. 4, 12 (D.D.C. 2010). Here, the
motion to intervene was filed just over one month after
Plaintiffs' complaint, and the parties have not yet filed
dispositive motions. See Compl. (filed May 31,
2016); Mot. Intervene (filed July 6, 2016). Additionally, the
motion to intervene is unopposed. See Pls.'
Resp. 1; Defs.' Statement 1 n.1. On this record, there is
no indication that the Pilots Associations' intervention
will prejudice any of the parties involved, and the Court
finds that their ...