Interpleader is a device allowed in U.S.civil litigation. It allows a plaintiff to initiate a lawsuit in order to compel two or more other parties to litigate a dispute. An interpleader action originates when the plaintiff holds property on behalf of another, but doesn't know to whom the property should be transferred. It was invented to resolve disputes largely in insurance cases.
For example, suppose a person dies with a life insurance policy. However, the insurance company knows there will be a dispute over who should receive the proceeds. The insurance company can file an interpleader action and join all people to whom it might owe the money. The company turns the proceeds over to the court for safekeeping, and then the defendants work out the dispute in court.
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