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Chiles v. Thornburgh

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Brief Fact Summary.

Dade County, the Governor of Florida, Krome detainees, homeowners, and a homeowners association sought to intervene in a suit against the improper operation of the Krome Detention Center.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

A party who seeks to intervene in a federal lawsuit is not required to have standing to sue in that action.

Points of Law - Legal Principles in this Case for Law Students.

Inquiry on this issue is a flexible one, which focuses on the particular facts and circumstances surrounding each motion for intervention.

View Full Point of Law

The Department of Justice (DOJ) testified that Krome Detention Center was supposed to be a short-term facility, although it was being used as a long-term detention center for aliens and felon-aliens. Following a riot, Senator Chiles compelled for the correct operation of Krome. Dade County and the Governor of Florida were permitted to intervene, while two Krome detainees, two homeowners, and a homeowner’s association sought to intervene. The district court dismissed the suit and the intervenors appealed.


Whether a party who seeks to intervene in a federal lawsuit is required to have standing to sue in that action?


No. The dismissal of Chiles, the governor, and the homeowners are affirmed; the dismissal of Dade County and the detainees are reversed. Dade county maintains an interest in protecting its landowners, similarly, the detainees claims are related to the operation of Krome.


The case is justiciable as long as the original parties have standing. Intervenors need not have standing. Intervention of right requires a party to: (1) make a timely application, (2) have an interest in the suit, (3) be unable to protect that interest, (4) have interests not protected by existing parties in the suit.

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