Devlin v. Scardelletti, 536 U.S. 1, 12 (2002)

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Opinion of the Court

United States et al. as Amici Curiae 12-27. To address the fairness concerns to objecting nonnamed class members bound by the settlement they wish to appeal, however, the Government also asserts that such a limited purpose intervention generally should be available to all those, like petitioner, whose objections at the fairness hearing have been disregarded. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24(a)(2) provides for intervention as of right:

"Upon timely application . . . when the applicant claims an interest relating to the property or transaction which is the subject of the action and the applicant is so situated that the disposition of the action may as a practical matter impair or impede the applicant's ability to protect that interest, unless the applicant's interest is adequately represented by existing parties."

According to the Government, nonnamed class members who state objections at the fairness hearing should easily meet these three criteria. For one thing, it claims, a settlement binding on them will establish the requisite interest in the action. Moreover, it argues, any intervention motion filed "within the time period in which the named plaintiffs could have taken an appeal" should be considered "timely filed" for the purposes of such limited intervention. United Airlines, Inc. v. McDonald, 432 U. S. 385, 396 (1977). Finally, it asserts, the approval of a settlement over a nonnamed class member's objection, and the failure of a class representative to appeal such an approval, should "invariably" show that the class representative does not adequately represent the nonnamed class member's interests on appeal. Brief for United States et al. as Amici Curiae 20.

Given the ease with which nonnamed class members who have objected at the fairness hearing could intervene for purposes of appeal, however, it is difficult to see the value of the Government's suggested requirement. It identifies only

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