The opinion of the court was delivered by: JOHN W. DARRAH, District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Ten different Plaintiffs (the "Federal Plaintiffs") sued the
Defendant, the United States of America ("United States"), for negligence
arising out of an air plane crash. The Plaintiffs include: (1) Aviation
Training Enterprises of Illinois, Inc., d/b/a American Flyers; (2)
American Flyers, Inc.; (3) Scott Chomicz; (4) Christine B. Collins,
Independent Administrator of the Estate of Robert L. Collins; (5) Rise'l
Barkhoff, individually and as Special Administrator of the Estate of
Herman F. Luscher; (6) Edward J. Hock, Independent Administrator of the
Estate of Sharon Hock; (7) Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Inc.; (8)
Midwestern Regional Medical Center, Inc., (9) Patient First, S.C.; and
(10) Employers Insurance of Wausau. The first three Plaintiffs are
collectively referred to as "American Flyers," Plaintiffs four through
six are collectively referred to as the "Estate Plaintiffs," and the last
four Plaintiffs are collectively referred to as "Cancer Treatment
Presently before the Court are: (1) Midwest Air Traffic Control
Services, Inc. and Gregory Fowler's (collectively "Midwest") Motion to
Intervene as Defendants; and (2) American
Flyers' Motion to Join Claims and Parties Pursuant to 28 U.S.C.A.
§ 1367 and Rules 18, 19, and 20 of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. For the following reasons, Midwest's and American Flyers'
motions are granted.
The facts, for the purposes of this motion, are as follows. In February
2000, two aircraft collided in mid-air near the Waukegan Regional
Airport. The collision occurred when a plane piloted by either Collins or
Luscher, both licensed pilots, flew into a plane operated by a student
pilot, Hock, causing both planes to crash. The plane occupied by Collins
and Luscher crashed into the roof of the Midwestern Regional Medical
Center and caused property damage and injured five individuals in the
building ("the Ground plaintiffs"). The plane operated by Hock crashed
onto a residential street.
The Federal Plaintiffs sued the United States in federal court,
alleging the Federal Aviation Administration ("FAA") was negligent in
operating, supervising, and controlling the air traffic control tower at
Waukegan Regional Airport. Pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act, the
United States could only be sued in federal court.
Multiple lawsuits were also filed in the state court of Illinois (the
"State cases"). The Estate of Collins sued American Flyers, Midwest, and
the Estate of Hock. The Estate of Luscher sued American Flyers, Midwest,
the Estate of Collins, and the Estate of Hock. The Estate of Hock sued
American Flyers, Midwest, the Estate of Luscher, and the Estate of
Collins. Cancer Treatment Centers sued American Flyers, Midwest, the
Estate of Hock, and the Estate of Collins. The Ground plaintiffs sued
American Flyers, Midwest, the Estate of Collins, the Estate of Luscher,
and the Estate of Hock.
Two requirements must be met to grant the motions at issue. First,
joinder and intervention must be proper under the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. Secondly, jurisdiction must be proper in the federal courts.
Midwest's Motion to Intervene as Defendant
The Federal Plaintiffs allege that the United States, through the FAA,
had an agreement with Midwest whereby Midwest would provide air traffic
control services at Waukegan Regional Airport's control tower under the
supervision, guidance, rules, regulations, and authority of the FAA.
These Plaintiffs also allege that the United States had a duty to train,
certify, and evaluate the air traffic controller employed by Midwest at
Waukegan Regional Airport Therefore, the United States was a proximate
cause of the accident. In the Collins-State cases, the
plaintiffs allege that the negligence of Midwest was a proximate cause of
the air crash.
Midwest moves to intervene in this lawsuit pursuant to Rule 24. First,
Midwest contends that it may intervene as of right, pursuant to
Rule 24(a)(2), because it has an interest so relating to the transaction which
is the subject of the action and is so situated that the disposition of
the action may, as a practical manner, impair or impede the applicant's
ability to protect that interest Secondly, Midwest seeks permissive
intention, pursuant to Rule 24(b)(2), because a common question of law or
fact exists between Midwest and this matter.
Midwest seeks to intervene as of right pursuant to Rule 24(a)(2).
According to Midwest, the Federal Plaintiffs allege many of the identical
allegations against the United States and against Midwest in the State
cases. Midwest, therefore, has a significant interest in defending
itself in one forum, where the United States can be named as a
Defendant Moreover, Midwest raises the issue that rulings in this federal
suit may have a negative impact on Midwest's interest in the state suits
by application of the doctrines of res judicata and stare