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Feesers, Inc. v. Michael Foods

March 21, 2006

FEESERS, INC., PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL FOODS, INC. AND SODEXHO, INC., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sylvia H. Rambo United States District Judge

JUDGE SYLVIA H. RAMBO

MEMORANDUM

Before the court is the Motion of the International Foodservice Distributors Association for Leave to File Brief as Amicus Curiae in Support of Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 143). The parties have briefed the issue and the matter is ripe for disposition. For the following reasons, the court will deny the motion.

I. Relevant Procedural History

Currently pending before the court are Plaintiff Feesers, Inc.'s (hereinafter "Feesers") Motion for Summary Judgment, Defendant Michael Foods, Inc.'s (hereinafter "Michael Foods") Motion for Summary Judgment, and Defendant Sodexho, Inc.'s (hereinafter "Sodexho") Motion for Summary Judgment. On December 8, 2005, the International Foodservice Distributors Association (hereinafter "IFDA") filed a motion seeking leave to file a brief as amicus curiae in support of Feesers' motion for summary judgment, along with a proposed brief. Feesers concurred in the motion. Michael Foods and Sodexho did not.

II. Legal Standard -- Brief of an Amicus Curiae

"Although appellate rules regulate the submission of amicus briefs on appeal, see Fed. R. App. P. 29,*fn1 a district court's decision to accept or reject an amicus filing is entirely within the court's discretion." In re Nazi Era Cases Against German Defendants Litigation, 153 F. App'x 819, 827 (3d Cir. 2005); see also Waste Mgmt. of Pa. v. City of York, 162 F.R.D. 34, 36 (M.D. Pa. 1995). The Third Circuit's standard, however, provides guidance to aid the district court in its decision. United States v. Alkaabi, 223 F. Supp. 2d 583, 592 (D. N.J. 2002). "[A] motion for leave to file [an amicusbrief] should be denied if the movant does not meet the requirements of (a) an adequate interest, (b) desirability, and (c) relevance, . . ." Neonatology Assocs., P.A. v. Comm'r of Internal Revenue, 293 F.3d 128, 131 (3d. Cir. 2002).

Additional factors in the court's decision are whether "(1) the amicus has a 'special interest' in the particular case; (2) the amicus' interest is not represented competently or at all in the case; (3) the proffered information is timely and useful; and (4) the amicus is not partial to a particular outcome in the case."

Alkaabi, 223 F. Supp. 2d at 592 (quoting Sciotto v. Marple Newtown Sch. Dist., 70 F. Supp. 2d 553, 554 (E.D. Pa. 1999)). In the Third Circuit, however, these factors are not dispositive. See Neonatology Assocs., 293 F.3d at 131-33.

III. Discussion

The court will deny IFDA's motion to file an amicus curiae brief because it fails to establish an adequate interest or sufficient desirability.

A. Adequate Interest

Although Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 29 does not strictly apply at the district court level, the court notes that IFDA's memorandum in support of its motion fails to provide a statement of IFDA's interest. See Fed. R. App. P. 29(b). IFDA states in its proposed amicus brief, however, that it is a trade association, with more than 140 members, "that represents the interests of foodservice distributors throughout the United States and Canada." IFDA's ability to represent the aggregated interests of food service distributors does not significantly distinguish or broaden its interest from that ...


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