Where persons and entities moved to intervene in an action in the district court, but the district court had already entered final judgment that had been appealed to this court, the notice of appeal divested the district court of jurisdiction to entertain the intervention motion.
This appeal marks another installment in a series of disputes involving an enforcement action by the Federal Trade Commission against a group of fraudulent real estate developers. A group of 14 individual investors and a family-owned corporation, moved to intervene in an action brought by others and sought relief from the district court’s judgment.
But appellants did not do so until after the district court had entered final judgment and that judgment had been appealed to this court. Because the enforcement action was already on appeal when appellants filed their motions, the district court concluded that it lacked jurisdiction to entertain those motions. It held alternatively that the motions should be denied as meritless.
In Doe v. Public Citizen, 749 F.3d 246 (4th Cir. 2014), this court held that “[g]enerally, a timely filed notice of appeal transfers jurisdiction of a case to the court of appeals and strips a district court of jurisdiction to rule on any matters involved in the appeal.” It explained that “[t]his rule fosters judicial economy and guards against the confusion and inefficiency that would result if two courts simultaneously were considering the same issues.”
Moreover, in Public Citizen this court specifically addressed the relationship between a notice of appeal and a motion to intervene. It concluded that there was “no reason why an intervention motion should be excepted from the general rule depriving the district court of authority to rule on matters once the case is before the court of appeals.” It thus held “that an effective notice of appeal divests a district court of jurisdiction to entertain an intervention motion.”
Appellants maintain, assertedly relying on Public Citizen, that “one party’s notice of appeal [does not] divest the district court of jurisdiction to adjudicate claims made by other parties.” Second, they argue that “one party’s appeal of only some issues in a given controversy does not divest the district court of jurisdiction over other issues.” Both arguments fail.
Federal Trade Commission v. Lin, Case No. 22-1738, April 18, 2023. 4th Cir. (Motz), from DMD at Baltimore (Messitte). Kyle Singhal for Appellants. Imad Dean Abyad for Appellees. VLW 023-2-109. 9 pp.