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Target Logistics Management, LLC v. City of Williston

United States District Court, D. North Dakota

December 18, 2017

Target Logistics Management, LLC, and Lodging Solutions - Williston, LLC, Plaintiffs,
v.
City of Williston, North Dakota, Defendant, Halliburton Energy Services, Inc., Plaintiff-Intervenor,
v.
Weatherford U.S., L.P Movant for Intervention.

          ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO INTERVENE

          Daniel L. Hovland, United States District Court Chief Judge

         Before the Court is a motion to intervene filed by Weatherford U.S., L.P, (Weatherford) on July 31, 2017. See Docket No. 84. The Defendant, City of Williston, filed a response to the motion on August 14, 2017. See Docket No. 87. Weatherford filed a reply brief on August 21, 2017. See Docket No. 89. No response was filed by either Plaintiffs Target Logistics and Lodgings Solutions or Intervenor Halliburton Energy Services, Inc. For the reasons set forth below, the motion is granted.

         I. BACKGROUND

         This cases arises from a declaratory judgment action over a dispute of the constitutionality of a City of Williston ordinances, Ordinance 1026 and 1050, repealing the Special Permitted Use of “man camps” or “crew camps” during the recent oil boom in western North Dakota. The complaint in this case was filed on April 14, 2016. See Docket No. 1. On May 20, 2016, Plaintiffs Target Logistics and Lodging Solutions sought a preliminary injunction enjoining Ordinance 1026. See Docket No. 12. The Court enjoined Ordiance 1026 on June 21, 2016. See Docket No. 42. On June 22, 2016, the Court granted Halliburton's motion to intervene. See Docket No. 43. On the same day, the Court also ordered the parties, including Halliburton, to participate in a mandatory early settlement conference. See Docket No. 44. Halliburton's interveror complaint was filed on June 28, 2016 and the City of Williston's answer was filed on July 19, 2016. See Docket Nos. 48 and 49.

         In August of 2016, the City of Willison passed Ordinance 1050, which prompted a motion to file an amended complaint and a motion to vacate the preliminary injunction. See Docket Nos. 56, and 59. Both motions were granted. The preliminary injunction was vacated on March 9, 2017. See Docket No. 80. On May 1, 2017, the parties filed a stipulation to stay the matter for six months. See Docket No. 81. The stipulation was adopted and the case was stayed pending further order of the court on May 23, 2017. See Docket No. 83. Weatherfords motion to intervene was filed on July 31, 2017. See Docket No. 84.

         II. DISCUSSION

         Weatherford asserts it is entitled to intervention as a matter of right pursuant to Rule 24(a)(2) or in the alternative, permissive intervention pursuant to Rule 24(b).

         A. Timeliness

         At the onset, Weatherford asserts that its motion to intervene is timely. The City of Williston responds that Weatherford's motion is untimely and would prejudice it if Weatherford were allowed to intervene. To determine whether a motion to intervene is timely, courts consider “(1) the extent the litigation has progressed at the time of the motion to intervene; (2) the prospective intervenor's knowledge of the litigation; (3) the reason for the dely in seeking intervention; and (4) whether the delay in seeking intervention may prejudice the existing parties.” In re Wholesale Grocery Prod. Antitrust Litig., 849 F.3d 761, 766-67 (8th Cir. 2017) (internal quotations marks omitted). The Court will address each factor in turn.

         First, although the case has been pending since April of 2016, the only activity of substance in the case has been the issuance and vacation of the preliminary injunction. The parties jointly agreed to stay all deadlines in the matter in May of 2017. Discovery has not been completed and no dispositve motions have been filed. The Court finds this factor favors intervention.

         Second, the assertions regarding factors two and three, when Weatherford knew of the litigation and it's reasons for delay in seeking intervention, are closely related. Weatherford admits it knew of the litigation “not long after it was filed.” See Docket No. 84. Weatherford asserts that due to losses as a result of other litigation, Weatherford now “chooses to intervene in this matter.” See Docket No. 84. The Court finds these factors weigh against intervention.

         Finally, Weatherford asserts that the City of Williston has not been prejudiced by the delay in seeking intervention, noting that Weatherford's claims are nearly identical to those of the current plaintiffs; the case has been stayed; and that any ongoing settlement negotiations cannot be the basis for a finding of prejudice. The City of Williston contends that intervention would prejudice the existing parties because the City of Williston believes a settlement is “imminent” with the existing Plaintiffs. However, that was fourth months ago and the case has not settled. The City of Williston asserts that Weatherford failed to respond to attempts to discuss potential resolution. Eighth Circuit case law clearly states that ongoing settlement negotiations do not automatically create prejudice to the parties if another party seeks to intervene. Mille Lacs Bank of Chippewa Indians v. State of Minn., 989 F.2d 994, 999 (8th Cir. 1993). It is worth noting that none of the other plaintiffs, Target Logistics, Lodging Solution, or Halliburton Energy Services, objected to Weatherford's motion to intervene.

         In sum, although Weatherford delayed in filing its motion to interview, the underlying litigation had not progressed significantly by the time they moved to intervene and the delay in seeking intervention did not prejudice the existing parties. Accordingly, the Court finds that Weatherford's motion to intervene is timely.

         B. Intervention of Right ...


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