District Court Decisions
Fla. Med. Assoc., Inc. v. Dep't of Health, Educ. & Welfare, No. 78-CV-178, 2011 WL 4459387 (M.D. Fla. Sept. 26, 2011) (Howard, J.). Holding: Adopting, in part, magistrate's report and recommendation, granting Dow Jones' motion to reopen case, and granting Dow Jones' and RTMD's motions to intervene for the limited purpose of vacating or modifying the Final Declaratory Judgment and Permanent Injunction entered in this case on October 22, 1979; but disallowing all other cross-claims raised by the intervenors. At the outset, the court notes that "'[a] party seeking to intervene as of right under Rule 24(a)(2) must show that: (1) his application to intervene is timely; (2) he has an interest relating to the property or transaction which is the subject of this action; (3) he is so situated that disposition of the action, as a practical matter, may impede or impair his ability to protect that interest; and (4) his interest is represented inadequately by the existing parties to the suit.'" As to the first factor, the court finds that "[n]o party has challenged the timeliness of the Motions to Intervene." Moreover, in light of recent decisions in FOIA cases challenging HHS's withholding of certain Medicare data subject to the injunction issued in this case, the court finds that "although the 1979 FMA Injunction has been in existence for 32 years, the proposed intervenors have established that they have not been dilatory in seeking to intervene for the purpose of seeking vacatur or modification of the injunction in order to protect their interests." However, "the Court declines to adopt the Magistrate Judge's specific findings and observations regarding the 'additional circumstances militating in favor of determining that the applications are timely'" because those determinations "are beyond the scope of the issues presented by the Motions to Intervene and are not sufficiently supported, at this time, by evidence in the record." With regard to the second factor, the court concludes that Dow Jones and RTMD "have a sufficient interest in challenging the 1979 FMA Injunction to support their intervention as of right" because these parties "assert they have an interest obtaining the protected government records in conjunction with the operation of their business and/or disseminating the information to the public" and that "the 1979 FMA Injunction interferes with these interests." As to the third factor, the court finds that "Dow Jones and RTMD have both established that their interests are affected by the 1979 FMA Injunction" and "that their interests continue today, and that the Injunction, as a practical matter, impairs their interests." Lastly, the court finds that the proposed intervenors have also satisfied the fourth factor concerning whether the existing parties to the lawsuit adequately represented their interests. Here, the court observes that "the proposed intervenors' interest in obtaining access to Medicare records differs markedly from the interests of [the current] Plaintiffs [to the lawsuit which] represent[ ] Medicare providers, [as well as the interests of] . . . Defendant HHS, who opposes the proposed intervenors' cross-claims to obtain access to specified documents." In addition, the court also notes that "neither Plaintiffs nor Defendants have sought or are seeking to modify or vacate the 1979 FMA Injunction." Accordingly, the court holds that the Dow Jones and RTMD have satisfied their burden under Rule 24(a)(2) to intervene as of right in this matter.