United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Fort Myers Division
OPINION AND ORDER 
POLSTER CHAFPPEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on the parties' Joint
Motion for Order for Distribution and Other Relief (Doc. 35)
filed on June 30, 2017. This matter is ripe for review.
interpleader action involves an Individual Life Insurance
Policy (“Policy”) issued by Pruco
Life Insurance Company (“Pruco”) to the late
Teresa Sievers (“Insured”) and the uncertainty
surrounding the benefits recipient. In 2005, Pruco issued the
Policy to the Insured for $2, 500, 000.00. (Doc. 1-1). Mark
Sievers was the designated sole beneficiary, and J.S., a
minor, was the contingent beneficiary. (Doc. 1-1). In 2015,
the Insured died, and her death was ruled a homicide. (Doc.
35 at 2). Thereafter, Mark Sievers was charged with first
degree murder of the Insured. (Doc. 3 at 2).
charge is the basis for the uncertainty in this action. Under
Florida law, a named beneficiary is not entitled to any
benefit under a life insurance policy if he or she unlawfully
and intentionally kills the principal. See Fla.
Stat. 732.802(3). In fact, it is treated as if the killer
predeceased the principal. See
id.Accordingly, if Mark Sievers is found to have
forfeited his right, then J.S., the contingent beneficiary,
is entitled to the Policy benefits. Because of this potential
divergence, Pruco brought this interpleader action against
Mark Sievers and J.S.
the parties jointly seek dismissal of this action, a
discharge of liability for Pruco, deposit of Policy benefits
with a neutral third party, fees for Pruco's attorneys,
and a permanent injunction against Defendants “from
making any further actual or implied claims . . . against
Pruco with respect to the Policy and/or Death Benefit.”
(Doc. 35 at 3-4). For the reasons stated below, the Joint
Motion is granted.
is the means by which an innocent stakeholder, who typically
claims no interest in an asset and does not know the
asset's rightful owner, avoids multiple liability by
asking the court to determine the asset's rightful
owner.” In re Mandalay Shores Co-op. Hous.
Ass'n, Inc., 21 F.3d 380, 383 (11th Cir. 1994). A
party may bring an interpleader action “under [28
U.S.C. § 1335] or Rule 22 of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure.” Fulton v. Kaiser Steel Corp., 397
F.2d 580, 582 (5th Cir. 1968). Here, Pruco, without explicitly
stating as such, brought its interpleader action under Rule
22 because § 1335 was not available. See
(Doc. 1). The distinction is important because the
“statutes governing § 1335 interpleader actions
explicitly permit permanent injunction; the rules governing
Rule 22 actions do not.” Life Ins. Co. of N.A. v.
Champion, 7:16-CV-143, 2016 WL 9185288, at *1 (M.D. Ga.
Dec. 13, 2016) (citations omitted). Nonetheless, permanent
injunctions are available under a Rule 22 interpleader
action. See Genworth Life Ins. Co. v.
Reyes, 12-20959-CIV, 2013 WL 12140965, at *2 (S.D. Fla.
Jan. 4, 2013), report and recommendation adopted sub
nom. Genworth Ins. Co. v. Reyes, 12-20959-CIV,
2013 WL 12141335 (S.D. Fla. Jan. 29, 2013). They are simply
governed by 28 U.S.C. § 2283 and Rule 65 of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure. Id.
a permanent injunction is available, and all parties
stipulate to its language, this Court will grant the
parties' request for a permanent injunction. The Court
will also grant the additional relief sought. Therefore, this
Court will dismiss this action once the parties inform it
that the Policy benefits have been distributed in accordance
with this Order.
it is now
Pruco Life Insurance Company, Mark Sievers, and J.S.'s
Joint Motion for Order for Distribution and Other Relief
(Doc. 35) is GRANTED.
Pruco Life Insurance Company shall pay its counsel,
d'Arcambal Ousley & Cuyler Burk LLP attorneys'
fees in the amount of $15, 000.00, representing a portion of
the Death Benefit.
Pruco Life Insurance Company shall issue a check to John
Thomas Cardillo, Esq. payable to Cardillo, Keith, &
Bonaquit Trust Account to be held in trust in an
interesting-bearing account pending final resolution of the
legal issues forming the basis of ...