60 F.3d 1304 (8th Cir. 1995), 95-1294, Kansas Public Employees Retirement System v. Reimer & Koger Associates, Inc.

Docket Nº:95-1294.
Citation:60 F.3d 1304
Party Name:KANSAS PUBLIC EMPLOYEES RETIREMENT SYSTEM, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. REIMER & KOGER ASSOCIATES, INC., a Kansas Corporation; Ronald Reimer, an individual; Kenneth H. Koger, an individual; Clifford W. Shinski, an individual; Brent Messick, an individual; Robert Crew, an individual; Frank Morgan, an individual; Sherman Dreiseszun, an individual; Leland G
Case Date:July 27, 1995
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
 
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Page 1304

60 F.3d 1304 (8th Cir. 1995)

KANSAS PUBLIC EMPLOYEES RETIREMENT SYSTEM, Plaintiff-Appellee,

v.

REIMER & KOGER ASSOCIATES, INC., a Kansas Corporation;

Ronald Reimer, an individual; Kenneth H. Koger, an

individual; Clifford W. Shinski, an individual; Brent

Messick, an individual; Robert Crew, an individual; Frank

Morgan, an individual; Sherman Dreiseszun, an individual;

Leland Gerhart, an individual; I.I. Ozar, an individual;

Raymond Gifford, an individual; Harry S. Jonas, an

individual; Ralph E. Kiene, an individual; Randall M. Nay,

an individual; Frank Sebree, an individual; Tony Salazar,

an individual; Philip Pistilli, an individual; Michael K.

Russell, an individual; Gage & Tucker, a law partnership;

Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Co., an accountancy firm; KPMG

Peat Marwick, an accountancy firm; Robert Spence, an

individual, Defendants.

Frank MORGAN; Sherman Dreiseszun; Leland Gerhart; I.I.

Ozar; Raymond Gifford; Ralph E. Kiene; Randall

M. Nay; Tony Salazar; Philip Pistilli,

Third-party plaintiffs,

v.

RESOLUTION TRUST CORPORATION, Third-party defendant,

Shook, Hardy & Bacon; Intervenor,

Blackwell Sanders Matheny Weary & Lombardi, L.C., Proposed

Intervenor-Appellant.

No. 95-1294.

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

July 27, 1995

Submitted April 4, 1995.

Page 1305

Russell Scarritt Jones, Jr., Kansas City, MO, argued (R. Lawrence Ward on the brief), for appellant.

Kenneth Philip Ross, Chicago, IL, argued (Robert F. Coleman, Eugene J. Schiltz, Elizabeth R. Schenkier, Eugene I. Pavalon, and Geoffrey L. Gifford, on the brief), for appellee.

Before McMILLIAN, Circuit Judge, JOHN R. GIBSON, Senior Circuit Judge, and BOWMAN, Circuit Judge.

JOHN R. GIBSON, Senior Circuit Judge.

Blackwell Sanders Matheny Weary & Lombardi, L.C., 1 appeals from an order of the district court denying its motion to intervene in a pending civil suit brought by the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System against various defendants. See Kansas Pub. Employees Retirement Sys. v. Reimer & Koger Assoc., No. 92-0922-CV-W-9 (W.D.Mo. Dec. 29, 1994). We reverse.

Page 1306

The KPERS litigation was filed in 1991 2 and has previously been before this court. 3 On September 26, 1994, KPERS' counsel sent a letter to Blackwell Sanders, informing it of KPERS' intent to join Blackwell Sanders as a party defendant in the case pending in the Western District of Missouri. KPERS enclosed a copy of the Fifth Amended Complaint and a draft of three additional counts which KPERS proposed to bring against Blackwell Sanders. The three counts alleged that Blackwell Sanders represented KPERS in connection with its first $15 million investment in Home Savings Association; that Blackwell Sanders committed professional negligence in that capacity; that Blackwell Sanders breached various fiduciary duties; and that Blackwell Sanders "participated in" Reimer & Koger's breach of trust. The letter invited Blackwell Sanders to discuss resolution of the case, and stated that KPERS would seek leave to file the additional counts on October 14, 1994. Instead, on October 14, 1994, KPERS' counsel informed Blackwell Sanders that KPERS intended to file the claims in a separate suit in state court in Shawnee County, Kansas. Blackwell Sanders then filed a motion to intervene as of right in the Western District case.

The district court entered an order denying the motion to intervene. Slip op. at 13. 4 The court first recited Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24(a)(2), which provides for intervention of right upon timely application if the disposition of the action "may as a practical matter impair or impede the applicant's ability to protect" its interest, unless its interest is adequately represented by existing parties. The district court ruled that Blackwell Sanders' motion was timely, id. at 5, but found that "Blackwell Sanders does not have an interest in the pending action which would be impaired absent its intervention." Id. at 9 (emphasis added). In so doing, the court rejected Blackwell Sanders' argument that adverse rulings in the Western District might affect later proceedings through application of res judicata, collateral estoppel, or stare decisis. Id. at 9-11. The court stated that Blackwell Sanders "failed to present any specific legal issues common to the claims pending [in the Western District of Missouri] and those which will be asserted against Blackwell Sanders." Id. at 10. The court further observed that "it is a fundamental principle ... that the interpretation of state law by a federal court sitting in another state has limited precedential weight in the former state." Id. The court held that, "because the claims against Blackwell Sanders arise under Kansas law, the adverse impact of stare decisis in a later proceeding does not necessitate a finding that Blackwell Sanders possesses an interest in the litigation that will be practically impaired but for its involvement." Id. (emphasis added). Further, the court noted that the pending litigation involved conventional claims of negligence and misrepresentation and that the stare decisis effect of cases which are not of first impression is minimal. Id. at 11. The court concluded that it was "unlikely that Blackwell Sanders would be adversely affected in a later proceeding by rulings in the

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present one." Id. (emphasis added). In light of this conclusion, the court declined to address the representation issue, id. at 12 n. 8, and denied Blackwell Sanders' motion to intervene. Id. at 13.

The district court entered its order denying intervention on December 29, 1994. On January 6, 1995, KPERS filed an action against the partnership of Blackwell Sanders in the district court of Shawnee County, Kansas. Kansas Pub. Employees Retirement Sys. v. Blackwell Sanders Matheny Weary & Lombardi, No. 95CV20 (3d Judicial Dist.Ct., Shawnee County, Kansas).

I.

Intervention of right is governed by Rule 24(a)(2), which provides:

(a) Intervention of Right. Upon timely application anyone shall be permitted to intervene in an action: ... (2) when the applicant claims an interest relating to the property or transaction which is the subject of the action and the applicant is 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 existing parties.

Fed.R.Civ.P. 24(a)(2).

We review de novo the district court's denial of Blackwell Sanders' motion to intervene as of right. Arrow v. Gambler's Supply, Inc., 55 F.3d 407, 409 (8th Cir.1995); Mille Lacs Band of Chippewa Indians v. Minnesota, 989 F.2d 994, 998 (8th Cir.1993). We review for abuse of discretion the district court's ruling on the timeliness of that motion. Arrow, 55 F.3d at 409. We construe Rule 24 liberally, Arkansas Elec. Energy Consumers v. Middle S. Energy, Inc., 772 F.2d 401, 404 (8th Cir.1985), and resolve any doubts in favor of the proposed intervenors. Sierra Club v. Robertson, 960 F.2d 83, 86 (8th Cir.1992) (allowing intervention "serves the judicial system's interest in resolving all related controversies in a single action"); Kozak v. Wells, 278 F.2d 104, 112 (8th Cir.1960).

We have consistently applied Rule 24 less stringently than did the district...

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