Western-Southern Life Assurance Company v. Lee et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER: IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the motion of plaintiff Western-Southern Life Assurance Company for dismissal from this action [Doc. # 29] is granted. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the plaintiffs request for attorneys fees and costs is denied without prejudice. Signed by District Judge Carol E. Jackson on 12/15/2014. (KMS)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
SAMUEL H. LEE, JR., et al.,
Case No. 4:13-CV-2499 (CEJ)
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the court on the motion of plaintiff Western-Southern
Life Assurance Company to be dismissed from this interpleader action and for an
award of attorney’s fees and costs.
The purpose of an interpleader action is to shield a disinterested stakeholder
from the costs of having to defend against multiple suits, and from the risk of
multiple liability or inconsistent obligations when several claimants assert rights to
a single stake. S & W Foreclosure Corp. v. Okenfuss, No. 4:09-CV-353 (CDP), 2010
WL 106675, *1 (E.D. Mo. Jan. 6, 2010). Where a stakeholder is disinterested and
has deposited the stake into the court registry, the court may dismiss it from the
interpleader action, leaving the claimants to prosecute their conflicting claims. Id.
Western-Southern claims no interest in the policy’s death benefit and has paid the
proceeds into the court registry. Accordingly, plaintiff will be dismissed from this
Furthermore, a disinterested stakeholder who brings an interpleader action
may be entitled to recover attorney’s fees and costs in bringing the action. Id. The
court’s authority to grant an award is discretionary, not an absolute right. Amer.
Life Ins. Co. of N.Y. v. Karnes, No. 07-40353-CV-C-NKL, 2007 WL 4365732, *3
(W.D. Mo. Dec. 11, 2007).
“In the usual case the fee will be relatively modest,
inasmuch as all that is necessary is the preparation of a petition, the deposit in
court or posting of a bond, service on the claimants, and the preparation of an
order discharging the stakeholder.” 7 Charles Alan Wright et al., Federal Practice
and Procedure § 1719 (3d ed. 1998).
As sole support for its request for attorney’s fees and costs, plaintiff submits
the affidavit of its attorney summarily stating the total amount of fees and costs
incurred. This document does not reflect the number of hours expended, the work
performed, or the hourly rate of plaintiff’s counsel and is therefore insufficient to
enable the court to determine whether the amount sought is reasonable.
Therefore, plaintiff’s request for attorney’s fees and costs will be denied without
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the motion of plaintiff Western-Southern Life
Assurance Company for dismissal from this action [Doc. # 29] is granted.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the plaintiff’s request for attorney’s fees
and costs is denied without prejudice.
CAROL E. JACKSON
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Dated this 15th day of December, 2014.
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