Devlin v. Scardelletti, 536 U.S. 1, 5 (2002)

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Cite as: 536 U. S. 1 (2002)

Opinion of the Court

the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, arguing, among other things, that the 1997 Plan amendment violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, 81 Stat. 602, as amended, 29 U. S. C. 621 et seq. (1994 ed. and Supp. V). The New York District Court dismissed petitioner's claim involving the 1997 amendment, which was later affirmed by the Second Circuit because:

"The exact COLA issue that the appellants are pursuing . . . is being addressed by the district court in Maryland. . . . It seems eminently sensible that the Maryland district court should resolve fully the COLA amendment issue." Devlin v. Transportation Communications Int'l Union, 175 F. 3d 121, 132 (CA2 1999).

At the time petitioner's claim was dismissed, the District Court in Maryland had already conditionally certified a class under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(1), dividing it into two subclasses: a subclass of active employees and a subclass of retirees. On April 20, 1999, petitioner's attorney sent a letter to the District Court informally seeking to intervene in the class action. On May 12, 1999, petitioner sent another letter repeating this request. He did not, however, formally move to intervene at that time.

Also in May, the Plan's trustees and the class representatives agreed on a settlement whereby the COLA benefits would be eliminated in exchange for the addition of other benefits. On August 27, 1999, the trustees filed a motion for preliminary approval of the settlement. On September 10, 1999, petitioner formally moved to intervene pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24. On November 12, 1999, the District Court denied petitioner's intervention motion as "absolutely untimely." Scardelletti v. Debarr, 265 F. 3d 195, 201 (CA4 2001). It then heard objections to the settlement, including those advanced by petitioner, and, concluding that the settlement was fair, approved it. App. C to Pet. for Cert. 1-3.

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