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Tamberelli v. Alkermes, Inc.

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

December 19, 2017

DANA TAMBERELLI, Plaintiff,
v.
ALKERMES, INC., et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          ROBERT D. MARIANI, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         I. Introduction

         This matter involves claims asserted by Plaintiff, Dana Tamberelli, arising out of the termination of her employment with Alkermes, Inc., in 2015. (Doc. 21). On June 5, 2017, a purported settlement was reached through negotiations between one of Plaintiffs attorneys, David Deratzian, and one of Defendants' attorneys, Barbara Rigo. Plaintiff, however, denies every authorizing Deratzian to accept the proposed settlement offer. As a result, Defendants have filed a Motion to Enforce Settlement. (Doc. 31). Soon thereafter, Plaintiffs attorneys, through Attorney George Kounoupis, filed a Motion seeking to withdraw as counsel and to intervene in this case. (Docs. 33 & 34). On July 5, 2017, this Court granted the Motion to Withdraw, stayed the matter to allow Plaintiff an opportunity to find new counsel, and ordered Kounoupis to brief his Motion to Intervene. (Doc. 38). Kounoupis filed his brief in support of his Motion on July 7, 2017. (Doc. 39). Plaintiff subsequently obtained new counsel, and they have now briefed her opposition to Kounoupis's Motion. (Doc. 51). Upon review of the parties' filings, and for the reasons that follow, the Court will deny Kounoupis's Motion to Intervene.

         II. Background

         On June 10, 2015, Plaintiff was allegedly terminated from her employment for unlawful reasons. (Doc. 21 at ¶ 45). Sometime in late July or early August of that year, Plaintiff retained the firm of Hahalis & Kounoupis, PC, to represent her on claims arising out of her termination. (Doc. 34 at ¶ 2; Doc. 35 at ¶ 2). Plaintiff signed a fee agreement with Hahalis & Kounoupis, on August 6, 2015. (Doc. 33 at 8-9). Although Kounoupis was the only attorney who entered his appearance on Plaintiff's behalf, another attorney at the firm, Deratzian, was assigned Plaintiff's file. (Doc. 34 at ¶ 3; Doc. 35 at ¶ 3).

         On June 5, 2017, Plaintiff met with Deratzian at his office to prepare for her deposition that was scheduled for June 6, 2017. (Aff. of Dana Tamberelli, Doc. 52 at ¶¶ 6, 10; Aff. of David Deratzian, Doc. 31-3 at ¶¶ 6-7). Although exactly what transpired next is disputed, the parties appear to agree that Deratzian, outside of Plaintiffs presence, placed several phone calls with one of Defendants' attorneys, Barbara Rigo, and engaged in settlement negations. (Aff. of Dana Tamberelli, Doc. 52 at ¶ 23; Aff. of David Deratzian, Doc. 31-3 at ¶¶ 5-7). Deratzian asserts that he, with express authority from Plaintiff to do so, accepted a settlement offer during his third phone call with Rigo. (Aff. of David Deratzian, Doc. 31-3 at ¶¶ 8-9). Plaintiff asserts that she unequivocally rejected the three settlement offers that Deratzian brought to her and that she never authorized anyone to settle her case. (Aff. of Dana Tamberelli, Doc. 52 at ¶¶ 21-24, 32). According to Plaintiff, she left the office after rejecting the third offer, and was informed by one of Defendants' attorney that the case had settled when Plaintiff arrived at their office the next day to be deposed, (Id. at ¶¶ 23-24, 27).

         On June 15, 2017, Plaintiff discharged her attorneys at Hahalis & Kounoupis, PC. (Doc. 34 at ¶ 16; Doc. 35 at ¶ 16). Not long after, Defendants filed a Motion to Enforce Settlement. (Doc. 31). Kounoupis's Motion to Intervene soon followed. (Docs. 33, 34).

         III. Discussion

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24 governs a nonparty's right to intervene in litigation. The Rule provides, in pertinent part, as follows:

(a) Intervention of Right. On timely motion, 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.
(b) Permissive Intervention.
(1) In General. On timely motion, the court may permit anyone to ...

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