United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Charlotte Division
CHRISTOPHER PRACHT, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Eric F. Lee, Plaintiff,
SAGA FREIGHT LOGISTICS, LLC and TOMAS HERRERA, JR., Defendants.
DAVID C. KEESLER, Magistrate Judge.
THIS MATTER IS BEFORE THE COURT on "Greenwood Motor Lines, Inc. d/b/a R Carriers and R&L Transfer, Inc.'s Motion To Intervene" (Document No. 13) and "Defendant Herrera's Motion To Remand And Motion To Stay In Lieu Of Answer To Complaint" (Document No. 17). These motions have been referred to the undersigned Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b), and are ripe for disposition. Having carefully considered the motions, the record, and applicable authority, the undersigned will grant the motion to intervene and deny the motion to remand.
Christopher Pracht, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Eric F. Lee ("Plaintiff" or "Pracht") initiated this action with the filing of a "Complaint" (Document No. 1-1) in the Superior Court Division of Gaston County, North Carolina, on or about August 15, 2013, Christopher Pracht, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Eric F. Lee v. Saga Freight Logistics, LLC and Tomas Herrera, Jr., 13-CVS-3166. (Document No. 1). Plaintiff's Complaint contends that Tomas Herrera ("Herrera") was operating a 2001 Freightliner tractor trailer owned by and/or operated under the authority of Saga Freight Logistics, LLC ("Saga") on October 13, 2011. (Document No. 1-1, p.5). Plaintiff further contends that Herrera was operating the Saga tractor trailer at an unsafe rate of speed which led Eric F. Lee ("Lee"), who was operating another tractor trailer, to collide with the Saga vehicle on I-85 near Gastonia, North Carolina. (Document No. 1-1, p.5). The collision caused an explosion and fire that killed Lee. Id.
Defendant Saga filed its "Notice Of Removal" (Document No. 1) to this Court on September 23, 2013. "Defendant Saga Freight Logistics, LLC's Answer To Plaintiff's Complaint" (Document No. 3) was also filed on September 23, 2013.
Greenwood Motor Lines, Inc. d/b/a R Carriers and R&L Transfer, Inc. ("R Plaintiffs") filed the pending "...Motion To Intervene" (Document No. 13) on November 1, 2013. The R Plaintiffs contend that Lee was operating a tractor trailer owned and operated by the R Plaintiffs at the time of the aforementioned accident, and that they have sustained damages due to the alleged negligence of Saga and Herrera (together "Defendants"). (Document No. 13, p.2). Also pending is "Defendant Herrera's Motion To Remand And Motion To Stay In Lieu Of Answer To Complaint" (Document No. 17), filed on November 18, 2013. Herrera seeks to remand this matter to the Superior Court of Gaston County. (Document No. 17, p.1).
The pending motions have been fully briefed and are now ripe for disposition.
A. Motion To Intervene
R Plaintiffs assert in pertinent part that: (1) they share common questions of law and fact with the main action in this matter; (2) none of the existing parties can adequately represent their interests; and (3) that disposing of this matter without the R Plaintiffs would impede their ability to protect their interests. (Document No. 13, p.3). R Plaintiffs conclude that this Court should allow them to intervene pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24(a)-(b). Id . Rule 24 provides:
(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, ...