Robert Ito Farm, Inc.; Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation, Maui County, "Maui Farm Bureau"; Molokai Chamber of Commerce; Agrigenetics, Inc., DBA Mycogen Seeds; Monsanto Company; Concerned Citizens of Molokai and Maui; Friendly Isle Auto Parts & Supplies, Inc.; New Horizon Enterprises, Inc., DBA Makoa Trucking and Services; Hikiola Cooperative, Plaintiffs-Appellees,
County of Maui, Defendant, Alika Atay; Lorrin Pang; Mark Sheehan; Bonnie Marsh; Lei'ohu Ryder; Shaka Movement, Intervenor-Defendants,
THE MOMS ON A MISSION (MOM) HUI; MOLOKAI MAHIAI; GERRY ROSS; CENTER FOR FOOD SAFETY, Proposed Intervenor-Defendants, Movants-Appellants.
and Submitted June 15, 2016 Honolulu, Hawaii
from the United States District Court No.
1:14-cv-00511-SOM-BMK for the District of Hawaii Susan Oki
Mollway, Chief Judge, Presiding
Kupau-Odo (argued), and Paul H. Achitoff, Earthjustice,
Honolulu, Hawaii; Sylvia Shih-Yau Wu and George A. Kimbrell,
Center for Food Safety, San Francisco, California; for
Richard P. Bress (argued), Angela Walker, Andrew D. Prins,
and Philip J. Perry, Latham & Watkins LLP, Washington,
D.C.; Nickolas A. Kacprowski and Paul D. Alston, Alston Hunt
Floyd & Ing, Honolulu, Hawaii; Christopher Landau,
Kirkland & Ellis LLP, Washington, D.C.; Margery S.
Bronster and Rex Y. Fujichaku, Bronster Fujichaku Robbins,
Honolulu, Hawaii; for Plaintiffs-Appellees.
Before: Sidney R. Thomas, Chief Judge, and Consuelo M.
Callahan and Mary H. Murguia, Circuit Judges.
panel affirmed the district court's determination that it
lacked jurisdiction over an appeal from a magistrate
judge's order denying intervention.
panel held that prospective intervenors are not
"parties" for purposes of 28 U.S.C. §
636(c)(1), and a magistrate judge who has the consent of the
named parties to the suit may rule on a prospective
intervenor's motion to intervene without the prospective
intervenor's consent. The panel held that in this case,
because the magistrate judge had the consent of the parties
and did not need the consent of the proposed intervenor, the
magistrate judge had jurisdiction to rule on the motion to
intervene and the magistrate judge's order denying
intervention became immediately appealable to the Ninth
Circuit, not to the district court.
MURGUIA, CIRCUIT JUDGE.
magistrate judge may exercise jurisdiction over a civil
action "[u]pon the consent of the parties." 28
U.S.C. § 636(c)(1). This case requires us to decide
whether the consent of a prospective intervenor-that is, one
who wants to intervene but has not yet been allowed to do
so-is necessary for a magistrate judge to rule on a motion to
intervene. We hold that prospective intervenors are not
"parties" for purposes of § 636(c)(1), and a
magistrate judge who has the consent of the named parties to
the suit may rule on a prospective intervenor's motion to
intervene without the prospective intervenor's consent.
November 2014, the voters of the County of Maui ("the
County") approved a county ordinance ("the
Ordinance") via ballot initiative prohibiting the
growth, testing, and cultivation of genetically engineered
crops until the County conducted an environmental and health
impact study. A group of industrial agriculture plaintiffs
(Appellees in this appeal) sued the County in federal court
to enjoin and invalidate the Ordinance. The parties consented
to have the case proceed before a magistrate judge.
public-interest citizens' groups, Shaka and MOM Hui,
filed motions to intervene on the same day. In a single
order, the magistrate judge granted Shaka's motion to
intervene but denied MOM Hui's. The magistrate judge
found that the motions to intervene were timely, that both
movants had significantly protectable interests, that the
invalidation of the Ordinance would impair those interests,
and that the County would not adequately represent their
interests because the County had opposed the ordinance and
its interests were broader than those of Shaka or MOM
Hui.The magistrate judge then allowed the Shaka
movants to intervene based on the group's role in the
initiative that enacted the Ordinance. In the same order, the
magistrate judge denied MOM Hui's motion to intervene,
finding that Shaka would adequately represent MOM Hui's