Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh).
Aldisert, Hunter, and Weis, Circuit Judges.
This appeal is from the denial of incumbent union officer Frank J. Valenta's motion to intervene in an action by the Secretary of Labor under Title IV of the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (LMRDA), 29 U.S.C. § 482(b), seeking to set aside the election for the office of district director.*fn1 A number of questions relating to intervention are presented, but in the view we take, it will be necessary to review only the district court's determination that Valenta's motion to intervene was not timely.*fn2 For the purposes of our analysis we assume, without deciding, that intervention by the successful candidate in a contested election is permitted under the election enforcement provision of the LMRDA and that the requirements of Rule 24(a)(2), F.R.Civ.P., other than timeliness, were met.*fn3
Central to intervention in any proceeding is that the motion to intervene be timely. In the exercise of its sound discretion, the district court determines timeliness after consideration of all the circumstances. We will reverse only for an abuse of discretion. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Rizzo, 530 F.2d 501, 506 (3d Cir.), cert. denied, 426 U.S. 921, 49 L. Ed. 2d 375, 96 S. Ct. 2628 (1976).
This court set forth several factors in Rizzo to inform the district court's discretion in determining whether a motion to intervene is timely. Id. They include: (1) the stage of the proceedings when the movant seeks to intervene; (2) possible prejudice caused to other parties by delay; and (3) the reason for delay. Id. (quoting Nevilles v. EEOC, 511 F.2d 303, 305 (8th Cir. 1975)).
In the case at bar, the district court considered the factors and found against appellant on each of them. First, appellant did not seek to intervene until more than thirteen months after the complaint had been filed. All of the pre-trial work was complete at that time and the case was already scheduled for trial. Second, the court found that substantial prejudice could result to the other parties. We agree. The longer the proceedings are delayed, the longer the challenging candidate remains out of office and the longer the intervenor retains the office. Allowing intervention at this point would contravene Congress's interest in resolving challenges to union elections as quickly as possible. See Dunlop v. Bachowski, 421 U.S. 560, 569, 44 L. Ed. 2d 377, 95 S. Ct. 1851 (1975). Third, the district court found that appellant offered no meaningful justification for his delay. Again, we agree. The excuses offered by appellant are not persuasive. He argues that he was awaiting the outcome of a second suit pending in federal court in the Northern District of Ohio, hoping it would be res judicata to the present one. That suit was dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. Appellant further argues that he delayed intervention until he could determine whether his interests were adequately represented. These arguments resemble evidence of tactical decisions; collectively and individually, they do not excuse the delay for intervention in the case here.
The judgment of the district court denying intervention ...