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New York Civil Practice: CPLR
Copyright 2017, Matthew Bender & Company, Inc., a member of the LexisNexis Group.

3-1006 New York Civil Practice: CPLR 1006.syn




David L. Ferstendig

Chapter Summary


This chapter covers CPLR 1006, Interpleader. It discusses the ability of a person, referred to as a stakeholder, who is or may be exposed to multiple liability as a result of adverse claims, to bring the putative adverse claimants before the court in order to resolve the underlying dispute. It discusses the purpose of interpleader to avoid multiple trials, possible inconsistent decisions, and multiple liability. The chapter notes that dismissal of interpleader complaints is rare because of the availability of severance or separate trials. It also discusses the advantages of interpleader compared to alternative procedural options of declaratory relief, cross complaints, or third-party complaints, its availability in special proceedings as well as in all courts, and additional New York statutes that govern interpleader in specific cases, such as, for example, Banking Law § 134(5), (6) (interpleader by bank or trust company).

The chapter reviews the liberal requirements of interpleader that at a minimum require only a colorable adverse claim, that is, a mature or immature claim that cannot be rejected without risk. It discusses cases in which interpleader was found appropriate even though the claimants asserted that the stakeholder's liability to each of them was independent and that their claims were not adverse. It also cites typical examples of plaintiffs who have used interpleader, including banks, insurance companies, escrow agents, and employers caught in intra-union struggles.

Next, the chapter discusses the procedural steps for bringing both complaints in interpleader and defensive interpleader, in which the sued stakeholder seeks to bring in other claimants as parties to the action. It describes the broad discretion a court has to issue stays to prevent a multiplicity of suits in cases of defensive interpleader. It also analyzes the continuing viability of the common law rule that interpleader as an action in equity did not give the parties a right to a trial by jury. In addition, the chapter discusses the fact that a claimant's successful judgment in interpleader requires independent proof of the validity of the claim. It further reviews the discretionary power of a court under CPLR 1006(f) to grant the stakeholder a discharge as well as award the stakeholder expenses, costs, and disbursements, including reasonable attorney fees, on finding the stakeholder properly brought the action of interpleader to protect the fund and itself.

Finally, the chapter examines issues arising when some of the claimants to an intangible debt are not subject to the personal jurisdiction of the court. It discusses the provisions of CPLR 1006(f), which permit the stakeholder to deposit in court, or with a person designated by the court, or to retain to the credit of the action, all or part of the sum of money in dispute, thereby converting what is in essence a debt into specific property giving the court jurisdiction over the property. The chapter also considers alternatives for a stakeholder when the court does not have jurisdiction over an out-of-state claimant of (1) using the procedures outlined in CPLR 216 to notify the claimant that unless he comes into the pending action within one year of the giving of notice, his claim will be barred in New York by the statute of limitations, and (2) using federal interpleader under 28 USCS §§ 1335, 1397, 2361; and Fed. R. Civ. P. 22.

The chapter includes a historical appendix discussing the amendments and legislative and judicial reports relating to CPLR 1006, references to related New York State and federal rules, and law reviews discussing CPLR 1006.

New York Civil Practice: CPLR (more commonly known as Weinstein, Korn & Miller) is the leading treatise on New York civil procedure and litigation, and is cited frequently by New York State and Federal courts as the authority on civil practice issues. It provides in-depth analysis and interpretation of New York's Civil Practice Law and Rules (CPLR), along with expert guidance and information on common and complex procedural issues facing New York civil law practitioners.


CPLR 1006,Interpleader,Stakeholder,Claimant,Adverse Claim,Multiple Liability,Multiple Trials,Severance,Separate Trials,Special Proceedings,Adverse Claim,Defensive Interpleader,Jurisdiction,Federal Interpleader,Federal Rule Interpleader,Federal Statutory Interpleader,Objection to Interpleader,Independent Liability,Discharge of Stakeholder,Deposit of Money,Expenses,Attorney Fees,Litigation Costs,CPLR 216


For further discussion of parties, see CPLR 1001-1004, Joinder; CPLR 1007-R1011, Third-Party Practice; and CPLR 1012-1014, Intervention.


For forms of complaints, answers, and judgments in various interpleader actions, including forms of defensive interpleader complaints and summons, as well as notices of motions, affidavits, affirmations, and orders for use in interpleader actions based on CPLR 1006, see Bender's Forms for Civil Practice: Civil Litigation, CPLR Article 10, Parties Generally (Matthew Bender).

For checklists, practice pointers, and practice insight relating to initial pleadings and responding to initial pleadings generally, see LexisNexis AnswerGuide New York Civil Litigation, Ch. 1, Initial Pleadings; and Ch. 3, Responding to Initial Pleadings (Matthew Bender).

For discussion of interpleader in federal courts, see Federal Litigation Guide: New York and Connecticut, Ch. 5, Determining Parties to the Action (Matthew Bender).
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