Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

COLLINS v. U.S.

January 27, 2004.

CHRISTINE S. COLLINS, Independent Administrator of the Estate of ROBERT L. COLLINS, Deceased, et al., Plaintiffs
v.
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Defendant



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," arid the last four Plaintiffs are collectively referred to as "Cancer Treatment Centers."

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. ยง 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.

  BACKGROUND

  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 ('TAA'O 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. ANALYSIS

  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.

  Intervention of Right

  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 hi 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 decisis. Midwest also asserts that the United States will not adequately represent Midwest in this action particularly because of its own related liability. Rule 24(a)(2) states:
Upon timely application anyone shall be permitted to intervene in an action . . . (2) when the applicant claims an interest relating to the property or the transaction which is the subject of the action and the applicant so situated that the disposition of the action may as a practical matter impair or impede the applicant's ability to protect that interest, unless the applicant's interest is adequately represented by the existing parties,"
"Therefore, four requirements must be met for intervention of right: (1) timeliness; (2) an interest relating to the subject matter of the action; (3) at least potential impairment of that interest if the action is resolved without the intervener; and (4) lack of adequate representation by existing parties." The party seeking to intervene of right has the burden to show that all four requirements are met. Reid L. v. Illinois State Bd. of Educ., 289 F.3d 1009, 1017 (7th Cir. 2002).

  "The existence of `impairment' depends on whether the decision of a legal question involved in the action would as a practical matter foreclose rights of the proposed intervenors in a subsequent proceeding." Am. Nat'l Bank & Trust Co. v. City of Chicago, 865 F.2d 144, 148 (7th Cir. 1989) (citation ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.