26 Geo. L. J. 1017 (1937-1938)
Federal Interpleader and Some Recent Cases

handle is hein.journals/glj26 and id is 1043 raw text is: FEDERAL INTERPLEADER AND SOME RECENT CASES
T HE ORIGINAL Federal Interpleader Act' was enacted in 1917
largely as a result of the decision in New York Life Insurance
Co. v. Dunlevy.2 In that case an insurance company attempted to
interplead citizens of two different states in a federal court, but the
suit was dismissed since one of the claimants was beyond the juris-
diction of the court. As a remedy, the new act gave United States
district courts jurisdiction to entertain bills of interpleader filed by
insurance companies or fraternal beneficiary societies where the pro-
ceeds of an insurance policy worth $500 or more were claimed or
might be claimed by adverse claimants, citizens of different states.
The act empowered the courts to issue process to be served on the
claimants in the districts wherein they might be found, and to dis-
charge the complainant from further liability on payment of the
insurance as directed by the court. Thus a way was provided to
prevent recurrence of decisions similar to the Dunlevy case.
The act, amended in 1925,3 was replaced in 1926 by a new Inter-
pleader Act.4 This new law extended federal interpleader to include
casualty and surety companies; added provisions in order to deter-
mine which district court should have jurisdiction in certain situa-
tions; empowered the court to enjoin the claimants from proceeding
in any state or other federal court on account of the same liability;
but it required that the claimants actually be claiming, dropping the
words may claim which had been contained in the 1917 act. Though
this act made no extensive changes, still it was an important step
toward a liberal interpleader and proved beneficial in a large number
of cases that would not have been covered 'by the earlier act.
On January 20, 1936, the present Federal Interpleader Act went
into effect. A great number of substantial changes have been made
by the new law: It applies to bills in the nature of bills of inter-
pleader; it allows any person, firm or corporation to maintain a bill
on any obligation concerning money or property worth at least $500
even though the claims are adverse and independent, arising from no
common source; finally, it allows the bill to be brought by way of an
equitable defense to an action at law, permitting the defendant in
such an action to join all claimants who are not already parties.6
139 STAT. 929 (1917), 28 U. S. C. § 41 (26) (1934).
2241 U. S. 518 (1916).
343 STAT. 976 (1925), 28 U. S. C. § 41 (26) (1934).
444 STAT. 416 (1926), 28 U. S. C. § 41 (26) (1934).
549 STAT. 1096 (1936), 28 U. S. C. § 41 (26) (Supp. 1936).
aSo much of the Act as is pertinent to this discussion provides: Of suits in
equity begun by bills of interpleader or bills in the nature of bills of interpleader
1017

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