Interpleader is where a plaintiff subject to competing claims causes the parties with the competing claims to fight it out in court.  The plaintiff often has property which may belong to either of two competing parties and he wants to force the other parties to litigate to determine who is the owner of the property.  The plaintiff can bring the action because he will be subject to competing claims unless he can determine who is the true owner of the property.

For example, let’s say Perry rents an apartment.  He receives notification from Larry claiming to be the new owner of the apartment building.  Larry demands that Perry pay him the  rent.  But then Perry receives a letter from Lori saying that she is the owner and rent should be paid to her.

Perry faces potential liability if he pays the rent to the wrong person.  In this case he can probably bring an interpleader action.  Perry will be the interpleader plaintiff and Larry and Lori will be interpleader defendants.   Larry and Lori will have to litigate who is the owner of the apartment building.  After the court decides who the landlord is, Perry will know to whom he should pay rent.  Perry agrees that he must pay rent.  He just wants to know to whom he should pay the rent.

Below is a brief video on interpleader.  Here is a discussion of the difference between Rule and Statutory Interpleader.

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