Last Friday the Federal Circuit identified a circuit split over the appropriate “standard to be applied when reviewing a trial court's denial of a motion to intervene as of right.” Although the court “f[ound] it unnecessary to reach this question,” it nevertheless provided an overview of the positions taken by its sister circuits:
Both sides cite authority from the regional circuits, which are split on the question, though slightly more courts favor de novo review. Compare, e.g., United States v. Aerojet Gen. Corp., 606 F.3d 1142, 1148 (9th Cir. 2010) (applying de novo review), United States v. Albert Inv. Co., 585 F.3d 1386, 1390 (10th Cir. 2009) (same), S. Dakota v. Ubbelohde, 330 F.3d 1014, 1024 (8th Cir. 2003) (same), Grutter v. Bollinger, 188 F.3d 394, 398 (6th Cir. 1999) (same), Sierra Club v. Espy, 18 F.3d 1202, 1205 (5th Cir. 1994) (same), and Nissei Sangyo Am., Ltd. v. United States, 31 F.3d 435, 438 (7th Cir. 1994) (same), with Geiger v. Foley Hoag LLP Ret. Plan, 521 F.3d 60, 64 (1st Cir. 2008) (applying abuse of discretion review), Person v. N.Y. State Bd. of Elections, 467 F.3d 141, 144 (2d Cir. 2006) (same), Brody v. Spang, 957 F.2d 1108, 1115 (3d Cir. 1992) (same), and In re Sierra Club, 945 F.2d 776, 779 (4th Cir. 1991) (same).
Wolfsen Land & Cattle Co. v. Pac. Coast Fedn. of Fishermen's Ass'ns, No. 2011-5113, 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 19930, at *5–6 (Fed. Cir. Sept. 21, 2012).