United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Fort Myers Division
OPINION AND ORDER 
POLSTER CHAPPELL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is Plaintiff Western Surety Company's
(“Western”) Motion for Entry of Default Judgment.
(Doc. 57). Western seeks a default judgment against
Defendant Sunset Auto & Truck, LLC
(“Sunset”). Defendants Kristopher Tirtel and
Carmax Auto Superstores, Inc. (“Carmax”) have not
filed a response. Therefore, the motion is unopposed and ripe
an interpleader action under 28 U.S.C. § 1335. (Doc. 1).
Western issued a surety bond to a car dealer for $25, 000
(the “Bond”). (Doc. 1 at 3). Each
defendant later claimed entitlement to the bond, so Western
filed this action to resolve the competing claims. (Doc.
1 at 2). While Tirtel and Carmax have answered the
complaint, Sunset has not, and the time to do so has passed.
Accordingly, the Clerk entered a default against Sunset.
(Doc. 56). Now, Western moves for default judgment,
seeking to terminate Sunset's interest in the Bond and
restrain Sunset from bringing any action against Western for
any benefit in connection with the Bond. (Doc. 57 at
allows an innocent and disinterested stakeholder of an asset
to avoid “multiple liability by asking the court to
determine the asset's rightful owner.” In re
Mandalay Shores Coop. Hous. Ass'n, Inc., 21 F.3d
380, 383 (11th Cir. 1994). The party seeking interpleader
bears the burden to demonstrate “that he has been or
may be subjected to adverse claims.” Ohio Nat. Life
Assurance Corp. v. Langkau ex rel. Estate of Langkau,
353 Fed.Appx. 244, 248 (11th Cir. 2009) (citation omitted).
Under the federal interpleader statute, district courts have
jurisdiction when the claimants are minimally diverse and the
amount in controversy is greater than $500. 28 U.S.C. §
default judgment may be proper in an interpleader action.
Clerk of Circuit Court & Comptroller for Collier
Cty., Fla. v. Sec. & Exch. Comm'n, No.
2:19-cv-515-FtM-38MRM, 2019 WL 4644033, at *1 (M.D. Fla.
Sept. 24, 2019) (citation omitted). In an interpleader
action, default judgment serves to “terminate the
party's interest in the fund at issue.” Metro.
Life Ins. Co. v. Jackson, No. 3:11-cv-967-J-34JRK, 2013
WL 3974674, at *5 (M.D. Fla. Aug. 1, 2013) (citation
omitted); see also Federated Life Ins. Co. v.
Fifth Third Bank, No. 2:14-CV-568-FTM-38CM, 2015 WL
859393, at *2 (M.D. Fla. Feb. 27, 2015) (enjoining a
defaulting defendant from instituting any action related to
the funds at issue).
obtain default judgment, a party must first obtain a
clerk's default. Fed. R. Civ. P. 55(a). Western
has obtained a clerk's default against Sunset. (Doc.
56). A court may then enter default judgment after
ensuring the well-pled allegations in the complaint state a
claim and a sufficient basis for relief. Tyco Fire &
Sec., LLC v. Alcocer, 218 Fed.Appx. 860, 863 (11th Cir.
Complaint properly states a claim for interpleader. Through
the clerk's default, Sunset admitted the Complaint's
well-pled allegations below. Giovanno v. Fabec, 804
F.3d 1361, 1366 (11th Cir. 2015). Tirtel and Sunset
are citizens of Florida, and Carmax is a citizen of Virginia,
so the claimants are minimally diverse. (Doc. 1 at
1-2). The Bond is worth $25, 000, and Western has no
interest in the funds. (Doc. 1 at 3-4). Finally,
each defendant has asserted a claim against the Bond,
exposing Western to multiple liability. (Doc. 1 at
these facts, Western meets the jurisdictional requirements
and its impleader claim supports a sufficient basis for
relief. Western has a right to default judgment.
it is now
Western Surety Company's Motion for Entry of Default
Judgment (Doc. 57) is GRANTED.
Clerk of Court is DIRECTED to enter default
judgment in favor of Western Surety Company and against