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Csx Transportation, Inc. v. Wawasan Ruby

United States District Court, Fourth Circuit

June 10, 2013

CSX TRANSPORTATION, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
M/V WAWASAN RUBY, her engines, apparel, etc., in rem, and TRIO HAPPINESS, S.A., in personam, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

GEORGE L. RUSSELL, III, District Judge.

THIS MATTER is before the Court on proposed Intervenors David Rienas and Ressalina Rienas' (collectively, "Movants") Motion to Intervene. (ECF No. 40). Plaintiff CSX Transportation, Inc. ("CSXT") commenced this action against Defendants M/V WAWASAN RUBY (the "Vessel"), in rem, and Trio Happiness, S.A. ("Trio"), in personam, after the Vessel allided with the Bayside Coal Pier owned by CSXT. The Court, having reviewed the pleadings and supporting documents, finds no hearing necessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D.Md. 2011). For reasons outlined in specific detail below, the Court will grant in part and deny in part Movants' Motion.

I. BACKGROUND[1]

On August 25, 2012, the Vessel, destined for a dock located at 6000 Pennington Avenue in Baltimore, Maryland, allided with CSXT's Bayside Coal Pier (the "Pier"). The allision caused substantial damage to the Pier, thereby affecting CSXT's ability to utilize it. The allision also resulted in personal injury to Mr. Rienas, a CSXT employee working on the Pier at the time of the allision.

On August 26, 2012, CSXT commenced this action against the Defendants. (See Verified Compl., ECF No. 1). That day, CSXT also sought a warrant from the Court to arrest the Vessel. (See ECF Nos. 2-10). On August 27, 2012, the parties arranged security for the Vessel via a letter of undertaking ("LOU") in the amount of $22, 000, 000, which resulted in the release of the Vessel. (See ECF Nos. 12-16). CSXT filed an Amended Verified Complaint on September 26, 2012, seeking relief "for property damage, for loss of revenue, lost profits, and for other damages." (Am. Verified Compl. ΒΆ 7, ECF No. 27). In that document, CSXT also states "[i]n addition, there is one CSXT employee who alleges injury as a result of the allision."[2] (Id.)

On February 15, 2013, approximately seven months after the parties executed the LOU and the Court released the Vessel, Movants filed the pending Motion to Intervene, which includes a proposed four-count "Intervening Complaint" alleging two in rem claims against the Vessel and two in personam claims against Trio. The proposed Intervening Complaint seeks damages associated with Mr. Rienas' personal injuries and the Movants' loss of consortium. Mr. Rienas' personal injury damages allegedly include lost wages, medical expenses, and disabling conditions such as mental anguish and emotional distress. The Movants made no attempts to rearrest the Vessel prior to filing their Motion.

II. DISCUSSION

A. Standard of Review

The Movants claim an intervention of right under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24(a) and, alternatively, seek a right to permissive intervention under Rule 24(b).

Under an intervention of right,

"the court must permit anyone to intervene who: (1) is given an unconditional right to intervene by a federal statute; or (2) 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 that interest." Fed.R.Civ.P. 24(a)(1)-(2). A movant seeking intervention under Rule 24(a)(2) must demonstrate "(1) an interest in the subject matter of the action; (2) that the protection of this interest would be impaired because of the action; and (3) that the applicant's interest is not adequately represented by existing parties to the litigation." Teague v. Bakker , 931 F.2d 259, 260-61 (4th Cir. 1991) (citation omitted).

Conversely, permissive intervention is appropriate "[o]n timely motion" when the movant "(A) is given a conditional right to intervene by a federal statute; or (B) has a claim or defense that shares with the main action a common question of law or fact." Fed.R.Civ.P. 24(b)(1)(A)-(B). The decision to grant or deny a motion to intervene pursuant to Rule 24(b) "lies within the sound discretion of the trial court" although "some standards have been developed to guide the courts in making intervention determinations." Hill v. W. Elec. Co. , 672 F.2d 381, 386 (4th Cir. 1982) (citation omitted).

B. Analysis

Defendants oppose the Motion as it relates to the Movants' in rem claims against the Vessel, but do not object to their in personam claims against Trio. The Court will deny the Motion as it relates to the in rem claims, but will grant ...


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