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Argued: October 23, 2000

Appeal from the denial of a motion to intervene by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York (Robert M. Levy, Magistrate Judge). We hold that the proposed intervenors –white, male employees whose employment status would be negatively affected by the terms of a race/ethnicity/gender-conscious settlement agreement reached between the United States and the New York City Board of Education — have an interest cognizable under Fed. R. Civ. P. 24(a)(2). We therefore vacate and remand for further proceedings.

John Brennan, James G. Ahearn, and Kurt Brunkhorst appeal from Magistrate Judge Levy’s denial of their motion to intervene as of right, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 24(a)(2). See United States v. New York City Bd. of Educ., 85 F. Supp. 2d 130, 154-56 (E.D.N.Y. 2000). The underlying action was brought by the United States against the New York City Board of Education and certain City officials (collectively “Board”). The complaint alleged employment discrimination. The parties — the government and the Board — reached a settlement agreement (“Agreement”) and moved for a fairness hearing and approval in the district court. The Agreement contained provisions that conferred certain employment rights on a number of persons who are African-American, Hispanic, Asian, or female. Appellants, white, male employees of the Board, sought to intervene. They claimed that intervention was necessary to protect their present employment status — in particular, their seniority rights. The district court denied the intervention motion on the ground that appellants could not assert a cognizable interest under Rule 24(a)(2) because they had presumptively obtained their employment status as a result of discrimination, they had no property right in that status, and any adverse effect of the Agreement was remote and speculative. See id. at 155-56. We disagree and reverse.

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