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Media Alerts - Fourth Circuit: Stuart, et al. v. Huff, et al.
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February 22, 2013
  Fourth Circuit: Stuart, et al. v. Huff, et al.
Headline: Potential Parties Must Demonstrate "Strong Showing" that Rights Are Not Adequately Represented Before Intervening

Area of Law: Civil Procedure/Reproductive Rights

Issue Presented: Whether parties must demonstrate a "strong showing" that their rights are not adequately represented by existing parties in a civil action.

Brief Summary: A group of physicians and medical centers that provide abortions brought suing challenging North Carolina's "Women's Right to Know Act." The Act required women to observe real-time ultrasound of the fetus and receive a simultaneous explanation of the display before having an abortion. A pro-life group of doctors, pregnancy counseling centers, and former abortion patients sought to intervene, pursuant to Rule 24 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, claiming that their rights were not "adequately represented" by the Attorney General.

The Fourth Circuit reaffirmed its position that where the government is a party to an action, there is a presumption that other litigants' interests are "adequately represented." Additionally, the court disagreed with the intervenors' position that they need only demonstrate a "minimal showing" that they were inadequately represented. Instead, the Fourth Circuit joined its sister circuits in holding that potential intervenors must demonstrate a "strong showing" that their interests are not adequately represented before being permitted to intervene. Finally, the court declined to allow intervention because of the court's concern that the addition of new parties would unduly delay the litigation.

To read the full opinion, please visit:

Significance: The Fourth Circuit joined its sister circuits in concluding that intervening parties must demonstrate a "strong showing" of inadequate representation before being permitted to intervene.

Panel: Chief Judge Traxler and Judges Wilkinson and Duncan

Argument Date: 12/04/12

Date of Issued Opinion: 01/24/13

Docket Number: No. 12-1052

Decided: Affirmed by published opinion.

Case Alert Author: Zachary S. Schultz

Counsel: ARGUED: Samuel Brown Casey, III, JUBILEE CAMPAIGN-LAW OF LIFE PROJECT, Washington, D.C., for Appellants. Anton Metlitsky, O'MELVENY & MYERS, LLP, New York, New York, for Appellees. ON BRIEF: Steven H. Aden, ALLIANCE DEFENDING FREEDOM, Washington, D.C.; W. Eric Medlin, ROBERTSON, MEDLIN & BLOSS, PLLC, Greensboro, North Carolina, for Appellants. Katherine Lewis Parker, AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION OF NORTH CAROLINA LEGAL FOUNDATION, Raleigh, North Carolina; Andrew D. Beck, AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION FOUNDATION, New York, New York; Walter Dellinger, Laura Conn, O'MELVENY & MYERS, LLP, Washington, D.C.; Bebe J. Anderson, CENTER FOR REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS, New York, New York; Helene T. Krasnoff, PLANNED PARENTHOOD FED. OF AMERICA, Washington, D.C., for Appellees.

Author of Opinion: Wilkinson, J.

Case Alert Circuit Supervisor: Professor Renée Hutchins

    Posted By: Renee Hutchins @ 02/22/2013 12:05 PM     4th Circuit  

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