Interpleader

From Academic Kids

Interpleader is a form of action originally developed under equity jurisprudence. It allows a plaintiff to initiate a lawsuit in order to compel two or more other parties to litigate a dispute. An interpleader action originates when the plaintiff holds property on behalf of another, but doesn't know to whom the property should be transferred. It is often used to resolve disputes arising under insurance contracts.

For example, suppose a person dies with a life insurance policy. However, the insurance company knows there will be a dispute over who should receive the proceeds. The insurance company can file an interpleader action and join all people to whom it might owe the money. The company turns the proceeds over to the court for safekeeping, and then the defendants work out the dispute in court.

In an interpleader action, the party initiating the litigation, nominally the plaintiff, is termed the stakeholder. The money or other property in controversy is called the res. All defendants having a possible interest in the subject matter of the case are called claimants.

Interpleader actions in the United States district courts are authorized by Title 28, U.S. Code, Section 1335.

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