State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. v. Tashire

386 U.S. 523 (1967)


A Greyhound bus collided with a pickup truck in northern California. Two of the bus passengers were killed, and 33 others were injured, including the bus driver and the driver of the truck and its passenger. Four of the injured passengers sued in California State courts seeking damages in excess of $1,000,000. They named Greyhound, the bus driver, the driver of the truck, and the owner of the truck, who was the truck's passenger as defendants. State Farm (P) brought an interpleader in the United States District Court for the District of Oregon. P had an insurance policy with respect to the driver of the truck for bodily injury liability up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per occurrence. P asserted that claims already filed against them exceeded their maximum amount of liability under the policy. P paid the $20,000 into the court and asked that the court require all claimants to establish their claims against the driver of the truck in this single proceeding and no other. P named Greyhound, the bus driver, the driver of the truck, the owner of the truck, and each of the prospective claimants as defendants. Tashire (D) moved to dismiss the action and in the alternative for a change of venue to the Northern District of California. The court refused to dismiss. The court also granted the injunction that P wanted; that all suits against the driver of the pickup, Greyhound, and the bus driver be prosecuted in their interpleader proceeding. The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court's decision; an insurance company may not invoke federal interpleader until the claims against them have been reduced to a judgment and claimants with unliquidated tort claims are not claimants within the Interpleader Act or Rule 22. The case was appealed to the Supreme Court.