Tuesday, May 22, 2012

LEGAL-EASE 101: INTERVENING IN COURT AND WHAT IT MEANS


You may have heard about one of our off-road groups "intervening" in a court action.  This is not the same as filing a lawsuit.  Herein we will explain what it means to be an "intervenor" in a court action, and why it is an essential part of our access efforts.
Legal actions can be described as offensive and defensive.  To intervene is a defensive maneuver that can save the day for us, by ensuring we have a seat at the table when recreational decisions are made.
The core of the defensive maneuver is the "defendant Intervenor" play. Off-roader organizations intervene in lawsuits filed by the anti-access crowd as a defendant. Sometimes, we can mix the offensive and defensive play as well. This is an excellent way of making sure no federal judge makes a decision (about our trails and our sports) without hearing from the people who use them.

An Intervenor allows the OHV community to directly oppose the arguments made by the radical anti's. Specifically, to intervene (become an Intervenor) a person or group that was not part of an original lawsuit, must show that they will be directly harmed by the court's decision. Often, groups like BRC act as representatives of people who have a direct concern in the legal issues.
Interveners (like BlueRibbon Coalition, the California Association of 4Wheel Drive Clubs,  (and others) become a player in the outcome of a lawsuit they were not originally part of.  They often request intervention because the agencies defending the lawsuit may not fully represent off-road interests, or worse.

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