United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Fort Myers Division
OPINION AND ORDER
E. STEELE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on review of plaintiff's
Unopposed Motion for Order of Interpleader (Doc. #33) and
Unopposed Motion for Attorney's Fees (Doc. #34) filed on
August 30, 2017. A Clerk's Entry of Default (Doc. #30)
was entered against Mark D. Sievers on August 18, 2017. For
the reasons set forth below, the motions are denied.
undisputed facts in the Complaint establish that Mark D.
Sievers (husband of Teresa A. Sievers) is the primary and
only beneficiary of the attached traditional IRA annuity
contract. (Doc. #1-1.) No contingent beneficiary is
designated in the annuity contract unless no beneficiary
survives, in which case the proceeds would revert to Teresa
A. Sievers' estate. (Doc. #1, ¶ 8; Doc. #1-1, pp.
10, 17.) With regard to the death benefit options available
before the income date of June 21, 2064, the annuity contract
In the event of the Owner's death or the death of a Joint
Owner before the Income Date, a Beneficiary must request that
the death benefit be paid under one of the death benefit
options below unless the Owner did so previously. The
following are the available death benefit options:
1. Option 1 - single lump-sum payment of the death benefit;
2. Option 2 - payment of the entire death benefit within five
years of the date of the death of the Owner or any Joint
3. Option 3 - payment of the death benefit under an income
option over the lifetime of the Beneficiary or over a period
not extending beyond the life expectancy of the Beneficiary,
with distribution beginning within one year of the date of
the death of the Owner or Joint Owner.
Any portion of the death benefit not applied under Option 3
within one year of the date of the Owner's death must be
distributed within five years of the date of the Owner's
(Doc. #1-1, pp. 10, 27.) Further, as the spouse of the owner
of the annuity contract, Mark D. Sievers could elect to
continue the contract in his own name and exercise all the
same rights in lieu of taking the death benefit.
(Id., p. 27.)
about June 29, 2015, Teresa A. Sievers was found dead in her
home of blunt force trauma, and the cause of death was ruled
a homicide. (Doc. #1, ¶ 10.) Upon notification that Mark
D. Sievers was a person of interest, and upon request of the
Lee County Sheriff's Office to hold any payment of
proceeds, plaintiff held disbursement of proceeds in
abeyance. (Id., ¶ 11.) Since then, Mark D.
Sievers has been arrested and charged with his wife's
murder, and is awaiting trial. (Id., ¶ 12.)
alleges that Mark D. Sievers has a valid claim to the
benefits as the named beneficiary and it has not yet been
determined if he killed his wife. (Id., ¶ 15.)
Plaintiff also alleges that defendant Patrick J. Tottenham
has a valid claim if Mark D. Sievers is prohibited from
receiving the proceeds under Fla. Stat. § 732.802(3).
(Id., ¶ 16.) No final judgment of conviction
has been entered, and no other determination has been made as
to whether the killing was unlawful and intentional.
Plaintiff does not allege that either defendant has actually
made a claim against it, and the Complaint does not seek to
adjudicate the potential claims. Rather, plaintiff simply
seeks to give the money to the Court and be done with the
interpleader is a "means by which an innocent
stakeholder . . . avoids multiple liability by asking the
court to determine the asset's rightful owner."
Chase Manhattan Bank v. Mandalay Shores Cooperative
Housing Ass'n, Inc., 21 F.3d 380, 383 (11th Cir.
1994) . Here, there appears to have been no actual claim, and
neither plaintiff nor Tottenham seek a determination of the
rightful ownership of the benefits. The Court sees no reason
why the ...