United States District Court, D. Arizona
HONORABLE STEVEN P. LOGAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
November 3, 2017, Plaintiff Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission (“EEOC”) filed a complaint against
Defendants American Airlines, Inc. and Envoy Air Inc.
alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act
(“ADA”). (Doc. 1.) The Court adopted the
parties' consent decree and entered judgment in this
action on November 16, 2017. (Doc. 8.) The consent decree
provides that it becomes “effective on the later of (i)
the date it is signed by this Court or (ii) the date on which
an order from the United States Bankruptcy Court for the
Southern District of New York (the ‘Bankruptcy
Court') approving the monetary relief provided for in
this Decree becomes final and non-appealable (the
‘Effective Date').” (Doc. 8-1 ¶ 8.)
December 15, 2017, American Airlines filed a Motion to
Approve Compromise pursuant to Fed.R.Bankr.P. 9019(a) in the
United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of
New York. Two former pilots subsequently filed objections to
the terms of the consent decree in the bankruptcy
proceedings, arguing that the settlement amount was
inadequate and that it deprived pilots of their right to
bring ADA claims against American Airlines. (Doc. 10 at 3.) A
hearing was held on February 1, 2018 (Doc. 13-5), at which
time the bankruptcy court approved the monetary settlement
contained in the consent decree. Following the hearing, the
parties drafted an amended consent decree “to address
objections raised at the hearing seeking approval by the
Bankruptcy Court.” (Doc. 10 at 3.)
at issue is the parties' Joint Motion for Entry of
Amended Consent Decree (Doc. 10), and Motions to Intervene
filed by non-parties Lawrence M. Meadows, Kathy E. Emery, and
Andrea Twitchel (Docs. 12, 14, 15).
Motion for Amended Consent Decree
the parties move for entry of an amended consent decree that
modifies: (1) the list of employees who receive written
notice of the settlement - revised to include pilots; and (2)
the effective date of the consent decree - revised to occur
upon approval of the consent decree by the bankruptcy court,
rather than at the time such order of approval becomes final
and non-appealable. (Doc. 10 at 2-3.)
absence of any authority cited by the parties, the Court
construes the motion as a request for relief under Rule 60(b)
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Cf. Fed. R.
Civ. P. 59(e) (providing for alteration or amendment of
judgment requested within 28 days of entry of judgment). Rule
60(b) provides a court with discretion to modify or grant
other relief from a final judgment under a limited set of
circumstances. See Gonzalez v. Crosby, 545 U.S. 524,
528 (2005); Rufo v. Inmates of Suffolk County Jail,
502 U.S. 367, 378 (1992) (requests for modification are
subject to Rule 60(b)); Fuller v. M.G. Jewelry, 950
F.2d 1437, 1442 (9th Cir. 1991).
instance, the parties fail to present grounds that justify
disregarding the final judgment in this case under Rule
60(b). See Rodgers v. Watt, 722 F.2d 456, 459 (9th
Cir. 1983) (there is “a compelling interest in the
finality of judgments which should not lightly be
disregarded”). The parties do not contend that mistake,
surprise, excusable neglect, newly discovered evidence,
fraud, or circumstance voiding, satisfying, or discharging
judgment warrants relief. See Fed. R. Civ. P.
60(b)(1) - (5). Nor do they point to any “extraordinary
circumstance” that otherwise justifies relief.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b)(6); Buck v.
Davis, 137 S.Ct. 759, 777 (2017) (“the Rule's
catchall category, subdivision (b)(6),  permits a court to
reopen a judgment for “any other reason that justifies
relief.” Rule 60(b) vests wide discretion in courts,
but we have held that relief under Rule 60(b)(6) is available
only in ‘extraordinary circumstances.'”)
(quoting Gonzalez, 545 U.S. at 535); Hall v.
Haws, 861 F.3d 977, 987 (9th Cir. 2017).
parties do not point to any extraordinary circumstance that
calls for the proposed revision to the list of employees
entitled to notice in the consent decree. The parties do not
argue that, without this amendment, they would be unable to
execute the consent decree or realize any of its terms in the
related bankruptcy proceedings. Rather, the parties reiterate
that the notice provision has no bearing on individual
entitlement, and observe that the bankruptcy court has
approved the monetary settlement provided in the consent
decree. (See e.g., Doc. 13-5 at 37; Doc. 16 at 5.)
does the Court find that the proposed revision making the
consent decree immediately effective upon court approval -
sought for the purpose of preempting a stay of an order of
approval pending any subsequent appeal (see Doc. 10
at 3) - falls within species of equitable relief contemplated
by Rule 60(b)(6). See U.S. v. Alpine Land & Reservoir
Co., 984 F.2d 1047, 1049 (9th Cir. 1993) (“Rule
60(b)(6) has been used sparingly as an equitable remedy to
prevent manifest injustice”) (emphasis added).
Therefore, the parties' motion to amend will be denied.
Motions to Intervention
non-parties Lawrence M. Meadows, Kathy E. Emery, and Andrea
Twitchell move to intervene to object to the parties'
consent decree. (Docs. 12, 14, 15.) These motions will also be
these filings fail to meet the pleading requirements for
intervention under Rule 24(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure; the filings to do not lodge the parties'
proposed pleading(s) - such as a complaint or answer - that
sets forth the claim or defense that is the basis for seeking
weighing the relevant considerations, the Court finds the
motions are untimely. See Prete v. Bradbury, 438
F.3d 949, 954 (9th Cir. 2006); League of United Latin Am.
Citizens v. Wilson,131 F.3d 1297, 1302, 1308 (9th Cir.
1997) (timeliness is a threshold requirement for either
mandatory or permissive intervention under Fed.R.Civ.P. 24,
and is determined by considering: (1) the stage of the
proceedings; (2) prejudice to other parties; and (3) the
reason for and length of the delay). Without explanation,
movants request to intervene in this case months after they
had become aware of this action and filed their objections in
bankruptcy proceedings. (See Doc. 12, Exhs. 3 - 5.)
Similarly, their requests arrive approximately five months
after judgment was entered in this case. Allowing
intervention at this juncture would prejudice the current
parties by prolonging proceedings and threatening settlement.
See Alaniz v. Tillie Lewis Food,572 F.2d 657, 659
(9th Cir. 1978) (“Since the motion was filed after the
consent decree was approved, the first factor weighs heavily
against appellants.”); Calvert v. Hawkins, 109
F.3d 636, 638 (9th Cir. 1997). Therefore, the motions will be
denied as untimely. See United States v. Washington,86 F.3d 1499, ...