Denial of Intervention Reversed

Two individuals, involved in a political struggle about a camera system for traffic lights, sought to intervene of right in a lawsuit between the City of Houston and the system’s contractor.  City of Houston v. American Traffic Solutions (No. 11-20068, Jan. 24, 2012).  The Court reviewed the general requirements of Fed. R. Civ. P. 24(a)(2) but observed that “[b]riefing does not reveal any cases directly on point” to this situation.  Op. at 4.  The Court reversed the district court’s denial of intervention, observing that “[a] court must be circumspect about allowing intervention of right by public-spirited citizens,” but finding that these individuals were exceptionally involved in the political background for the system, and that the City was not necessarily an adequate representative for them in light of the specific history of this system and litigation.  Op. at 4-5.

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