Intervention Generally Not Permitted After Final Judgment

In this trust litigation case, the Attorney General of Delaware sought to intervene in a case involving a charitable trust providing for children with physical disabilities in the State of Delaware.   In 2004, additional litigation resulted in a judgment that expanded the category of persons eligible to receive funds under the trust.  While the Attorney General of Delaware was made aware of the litigation, he was not joined as a party in it.  In 2013, the Attorney General of Delaware moved to intervene to set aside the 2004 judgment along with its more expansive definition of eligible beneficiaries.  The trial court denied intervention, and Delaware appealed.

The appellate court affirmed, holding:

“After final judgment, intervention is not generally permitted.   However, a very narrow exception to the general rule permits post-judgment intervention when to do so would in no way injuriously affect the original litigants and when allowing intervention will further the interests of justice.

The court reasoned further,

“Accordingly, in order for the Delaware Attorney General to be permitted to intervene in the 2004 action, the trial court was required to find (1) that intervention would not injuriously affect the original litigants and (2) that intervention would serve the interests of justice. The record does not support such findings, and the trial court did not err by denying the motion to intervene.

The Delaware Attorney General failed to demonstrate that post-judgment intervention would in no way injure the original litigants to the 2004 action.”

Joseph R. Biden, III, the Attorney General of the State of Delaware v. John S. Lord et al., 39 Fla. L. Weekly D1488a (Fla. 1st DCA July 16, 2014)