United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Western Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Jeffrey J. Helmick, United States District Judge
Introduction and Background
2005, Charles Buchanan, an inmate at North Central
Correctional Institution in Marion, Ohio
(“NCCI”), filed a lawsuit alleging various NCCI
officials were violating his constitutional rights by
refusing to accommodate his religious beliefs and practices
as a member of the Yahweh's New Covenant Assembly. (Doc.
No. 1). Among these practices was Buchanan's
“belief that he must conform to Jewish law and eat only
kosher food.” (Id. at 2). Judge David A. Katz
entering a preliminary injunction requiring the Defendants to
accommodate Buchanan's religious beliefs. (Doc. No. 30).
The matter was subsequently settled and the litigation
dismissed without prejudice on September 25, 2008. (Doc. No.
2, 2019, three inmates - Michael D. Fogt, Christopher
Bruggeman, and Daniel W. Lytle - incarcerated at Pickaway
Correctional Institution, where Buchanan currently is
incarcerated, filed a motion seeking to intervene in this
case, to substitute the appropriate officials at NCCI as
Defendants, to initiate contempt proceedings against
Defendants, and for the appointment of counsel. (Doc. No.
53). Fogt, Bruggeman, and Lytle (“Intervenors”)
claim to be members of the Yahweh's New Covenant Assembly
and assert Defendants are violating the settlement agreement
which Buchanan and Defendants previously entered into.
(Id. at 2-3). I was assigned to the case, as Judge
Katz passed away in 2016.
State of Ohio, as an interested party, filed a response in
opposition to the motion to intervene. (Doc. No. 57). The
state argues the motion to intervene is improper under Rule
24, that I should decline to exercise jurisdiction over the
Intervenors' claim, and that the claims are barred by
Eleventh Amendment Immunity. (Id.).
filed a brief in reply. They argue they should be allowed to
intervene pursuant to Rule 24, that I must exercise
jurisdiction because they have asserted Defendants breached
the settlement agreement, and that the Religious Land Use and
Institutionalized Persons Act (“RLUIPA”) and the
Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution gives
Intervenors a statutory right to intervene in the litigation.
(Doc. No. 59).
reasons stated below, I deny the motion to intervene.
governs the circumstances under which a person can intervene
in litigation involving other parties. A court must allow a
person to intervene when the person is “given an
unconditional right to intervene by a federal statute,
” or “claims an interest relating to the property
or transaction that is the subject of the action, and is so
situated that disposing of the action may as a practical
matter impair or impede the movant's ability to protect
its interest, unless existing parties adequately represent
that interest.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 24(a)(1)-(2).
may permit a person to intervene when the person is
“given a conditional right to intervene by a federal
statute, ” or the person “has a claim or defense
that shares with the main action a common question of law or
fact.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 24(b)(1)-(2).
first argue that the RLUIPA gives them a right to intervene.
(Doc. No. 53 at 4-5). This argument falls short, as
Intervenors fail to identify any provision in the RLUIPA
which provides an unconditional or conditional right to
intervene. See 42 U.S.C. § 2000cc, et seq.;
cf. E.E.O.C. v. GMRI, Inc., 221 F.R.D. 562, 563 (D.
Kan. 2004) (“Section 706(f)(1) [of the Equal Employment
Opportunities Act] provides that ‘[t]he person or
persons aggrieved shall have the right to intervene
in a civil action brought by the Commission.' ”)
(emphasis in original).