772 F.2d 401 (8th Cir. 1985), 84-2356, Arkansas Elec. Energy Consumers v. Middle South Energy, Inc.

Docket Nº:84-2356.
Citation:772 F.2d 401
Party Name:ARKANSAS ELECTRIC ENERGY CONSUMERS and Reynolds Metals Company, Appellants, v. MIDDLE SOUTH ENERGY, INC., Appellee. Arkansas Power & Light Company, Appellee-Intervenor.
Case Date:August 23, 1985
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
 
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Page 401

772 F.2d 401 (8th Cir. 1985)

ARKANSAS ELECTRIC ENERGY CONSUMERS and Reynolds Metals

Company, Appellants,

v.

MIDDLE SOUTH ENERGY, INC., Appellee.

Arkansas Power & Light Company, Appellee-Intervenor.

No. 84-2356.

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

August 23, 1985

Submitted April 8, 1985.

Page 402

Vincent Foster, Jr., Little Rock, Ark., for appellants.

Jerry D. Jackson and Michael Thompson, Little Rock, Ark., for appellee.

Mary P. Stallcup, Little Rock, Ark., for Atty. Gen. of Ark., for appellee-intervenor.

Before ROSS and JOHN R. GIBSON, Circuit Judges, and MEREDITH, [*] Senior District Judge.

JOHN R. GIBSON, Circuit Judge.

Arkansas Electric Energy Consumers (AEEC) and Reynolds Metals Company appeal from an order of the district court 1 denying their motion to intervene in Middle South Energy v. Arkansas Public Service Commission, 772 F.2d 404 (8th Cir.1985), a companion case we are deciding today. The district court found the intervention motion was untimely, and appellants argue that this was an abuse of discretion. We are not convinced that the district court abused its discretion, but if any error was committed in denying intervention, it was harmless.

The facts underlying this appeal are discussed in the companion case, Middle South Energy v. Arkansas Public Service Commission, at 406 - 409. The suit below unfolded in rapid fashion. At 4:00 on the afternoon of August 31, 1984, the Friday before the Labor Day weekend, Middle South Energy filed with the district court a complaint seeking to restrain certain actions of the Arkansas Public Service Commission. The APSC had ordered that Arkansas Power & Light Company appear and show cause why certain agreements between it and Middle South Energy should not be voided. The case was set for a hearing on September 7.

Arkansas Power & Light Company, a party to the action before the APSC, filed a motion on September 5 to intervene before the district court. The motion was granted the following day, when the Arkansas Attorney General and a consumer group, Ratepayers Fight Back, also filed motions to intervene. That same day, the APSC filed a motion to consolidate the injunction hearing with trial on the merits.

A hearing was held on September 7. Initially, the outstanding motions to intervene were granted, and all parties agreed to consolidation of the injunction hearings and trial on the merits. Voluminous exhibits were introduced, and Middle South presented one witness. At the conclusion of the hearing, the district court granted an order temporarily restraining the APSC until September 14, when the court was to make the injunction permanent or dissolve it. The parties were given until noon on September 12 to file...

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