The opinion of the court was delivered by: JAMES F. MCCLURE, JR.
On March 8, 1991, plaintiff Brittany Gallick; an infant then aged seven months, was bitten on and about the face by a ferret owned by Shawnee Miller and Todd Long. The bites left open wounds which have left scars on the face of Brittany. Her parents, Leonard and Sonina Gallick, initiated this action to recover for Brittany's injuries. Originally, the defendants were Bruce and Betty Barto, the landlords of Miller and Long. They raised affirmative defenses against the Gallicks, and eventually Miller and Long were joined as third-party defendants. The Gallicks also have been named as third-party defendants.
Before the court is a motion to intervene filed by: Ferret Unity and Registration Organization of Elon College, North Carolina; Lehigh Valley Ferret Association of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; American Ferret Association of Frederick, Maryland; Path Valley Farms of Willow Hill, Pennsylvania; and League of Independent Ferret Enthusiasts of Burke, Virginia. The motion is filed pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 24(a), (b). Included in the motion to intervene is a motion for a stay of these proceedings.
The ground raised for this motion is that the court did not have before it expert testimony concerning the nature of ferrets, to be used in the court's determination of whether or not a ferret is a wild animal. Movants claim that they will be adversely affected by the court's determination that, under Pennsylvania law, ferrets are wild animals for purposes of personal injury actions.
In pertinent part, Fed. R. Civ. P. 24 reads as follows:
(a) Intervention of Right. Upon timely application anyone shall be permitted to intervene in an action: . . . (2) when the applicant claims an interest relating to the property or transaction which is the subject of the action and the applicant is so situated that the disposition of the action may as a practical matter impair or impede the applicant's ability to protect that interest, unless the applicant's interest is adequately represented by existing parties.
(b) Permissive Intervention. Upon timely application anyone may be permitted to intervene in an action: . . . (2) when an applicant's claim or defense and the main action have a question of law or fact in common. . . . In exercising its discretion the court shall consider whether the intervention will unduly delay or prejudice the adjudication of the rights of the original parties.
The motion for intervene will be denied for four reasons. First, it is not timely. Second, the interest which movants assert is not an interest relating to the property or transaction which is the subject of this litigation. Third, the facts and procedural posture of this case weigh against permissive intervention. And fourth, the proffered scientific evidence is not relevant to our determination that ferrets are wild animals under Pennsylvania law, which was an interpretation of clear statutory language and case law.
The motion to intervene was filed on August 5, 1993. On the same date, the court was notified by the parties to this action that a settlement agreement had been reached. For that reason alone, ...