Strategies, Challenges, and Answers

May I Cut In? Intervening In Nevada

There are times when an insurance company may find it necessary to jump into the fray.  If a lawsuit is ongoing and the insurance company is not party to that suit, the carrier can try to intervene in the suit that’s already filed, rather than rather than file a separate action.  Intervention is allowed under Rule 24 of the Nevada Rules of Civil Procedure and under N.R.S. 12.130.

160351_students_prom Intervention may be appropriate in several situations.  A common situation is where an injured Plaintiff sues an uninsured motorist.  The uninsured Defendant may have no interest in defending the action because he is judgment proof.  However, if the Plaintiff had uninsured motorists coverage, that carrier may well have an interest in defending that suit to assert defenses that would not otherwise be asserted by the uninsured tortfeasor.  In order to get the defenses presented, the uninsured motorist carrier will need to intervene in the suit filed by the Plaintiff against that uninsured motorist.

In the case of American Home Assurance Co. v. Dist. Ct., 122  Nev. 1229, 147 P.3d 1120 (2006), the Nevada Supreme Court said that there is no intervention as of right.  In that case, the worker’s compensation carrier wanted to intervene in an action brought by an injured worker.  The worker’s comp carrier was seeking subrogation directly from the alleged tortfeasor for the expenses paid and yet to be paid to be paid in compensation to the injured worker.

The injured Plaintiff and the Defendant both objected to the Motion to Intervene and the District Court denied the motion.  The worker’s comp carrier filed a Writ with the Nevada Supreme Court, hoping to compel the District Court to grant the intervention.

The Nevada Supreme Court upheld the District Court’s denial.  The Supreme Court said that intervention is appropriate only where all the requirements of NRCP 24(a)(2) have been met.  The court said:

to intervene under NRCP 24(a)(2), an applicant must meet four requirements: (1) that it has a sufficient interest in the litigation’s subject matter, (2) that it could suffer an impairment of its ability to protect that interest if it does not intervene, (3) that its interest is not adequately represented by existing parties, and (4) that its application is timely. Determining whether an applicant has met these four requirements is within the district court’s discretion.

In other words, if you want to intervene, you will need to convince the District Court judge that you have met all of these requirements.  In American Home Assurance, the court found that the injured worker would adequately represent the interests of the worker’s compensation carrier as he proceeded to prosecute his claim.

About Michael Mills

Mr. Mills practices in the area of civil litigation and appeals, with particular experience in matters involving trucking liability, insurance defense, insurance coverage, premises liability, products liability and defense of personal injury. Mr. Mills is a member of the Trucking Insurance Defense Association, the Defense Research Institute Trucking Committee and the Nevada Motor Transport Association. Mr. Mills is licensed to practice before the Nevada Supreme Court and the Utah Supreme Court. He is also licensed to appear before the United States Supreme Court, the U.S. District Courts for the Districts of Nevada and Utah, as well as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Mr. Mills has created 3 Blogs for the benefit of the insurance industry. He serves as editor and publisher of the Nevada Insurance Law Blog, the Nevada Coverage and Bad Faith Blog and the Nevada Trucking Law Blog.

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