United States District Court, N.D. Oklahoma
OPINION AND ORDER
V. EAGAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court is the joint motion to dismiss filed by
Daniel Aizenman, Attorney at Law, PLLC d/b/a Aizenman Law
Group (Aizenman), Jeff Krigel Law Firm, and Judge Conklin
(defendants). Dkt. # 26. Plaintiff has filed a response (Dkt.
# 32), and defendants have filed a reply (Dkt. # 35).
Defendants ask the Court to dismiss plaintiff's
complaint, arguing that the Court lacks subject matter
jurisdiction because plaintiff has allegedly not deposited
the full amount of defendants' claim for
uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Dkt. # 26, at 4.
Plaintiff argues that it need deposit only the amount it
agreed to pay as coverage. Dkt. # 32, at 6.
Grain Dealers Mutual Insurance Company (GDMIC) alleges that,
on August 12, 2016, Judge Conklin, an employee of Superior
Air Services LLC (Superior), was involved in an accident with
Torrey Powell during the course and scope of his employment,
in which he suffered injuries. Dkt. # 2, at 3. After the
accident, Superior's workers compensation carrier,
Hartford Insurance Company of the Midwest, allegedly paid
workers compensation benefits to Conklin. Id. In
2018, Aizenman allegedly gave notice to GDMIC that
Powell's auto liability insurer was tendering its
liability limits of $25, 000 in settlement of Conklin's
claim in a Rogers County lawsuit against
Powell. Id. at 4. Conklin's personal
uninsured/underinsured motorist carrier also allegedly paid
$250, 000 to Conklin. Id.
an Indiana corporation that maintains its principal place of
business in Indiana, allegedly provides
uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage to Superior.
Id. at 2, 4. Conklin, a citizen of Oklahoma,
qualified for this coverage because he occupied a covered
vehicle at the time of the accident. Id. at 4.
Conklin allegedly made a claim for uninsured/underinsured
motorist benefits under GDMIC policy number B1T2752S (the
Policy). Id. GDMIC investigated Conklin's claim
and determined that it was reasonable and appropriate to pay
Conklin $200, 000 for his claim. Id. Defendants
Aizenman and Krigel have filed attorney-liens in the Rogers
County case against Powell, and will assert a claim against
the interpleaded funds held in this Court. Id. at 5.
The Policy limit is $1, 000, 000. Dkt. # 37, at 1.
GDMIC sought instructions on how to distribute the $200, 000
to defendants, and was told to list all parties on one check.
Id. at 2. However, it was unable to list all
entities on one check, and received no additional
instructions. Id. Thereafter, GDMIC filed this
action and deposited the $200, 000 interpleader funds with
the Court, asking the Court to distribute the funds
appropriately. Id. On November 12, 2019, the
interpleaded funds were received by the Court. Dkt. # 13.
argue that the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction
because GDMIC has not deposited the full amount in dispute,
which defendants argue is the Policy limit. Dkt. # 26, at 2.
GDMIC argues that the Court has jurisdiction over this
action, because it interpleaded the entire amount in dispute,
which it argues is the $200, 000 it agreed to pay. Dkt. # 32,
basis for subject matter jurisdiction is the statutory
interpleader standard found in 28 U.S.C. § 1335. Dkt. #
2, at 3. Statutory interpleader requires that (1) the
interpleaded amount has a value of $500 or more, (2) there
must be two or more adverse claimants of diverse citizenship,
and (3) the interpleader has deposited the amount due with
the Court. General Atomic Co. v. Duke Power Co., 553
F.2d 53, 58 (10th Cir. 1977); see also In re Millennium
Multiple Employer Welfare Ben. Plan, 772 F.3d 634, 639
(10th Cir. 2014) (“Thus, the key statutory requirements
of interpleader jurisdiction are: (1) an identifiable stake,
or res, valued at $500 or more; (2) against which adverse
claims are brought.”).
has interpleaded $200, 000 with the Court. Dkt. # 13. The
interpleaded amount is greater than $500; therefore, the
first jurisdictional requirement has been met. Second, there
are two or more adverse claimants that are diverse: plaintiff
is incorporated in Indiana and maintains its principal place
of business in Indiana; Conklin is a citizen of Oklahoma.
See Dkt. # 2, at 1-2. Third, GDMIC has deposited the
amount due with the Court. See Dkt. # 13. It
allegedly received instructions on how to distribute the
$200, 000 that it determined to be payable and agreed to pay,
and was provided instructions to submit one check to all
defendants. Dkt. # 37, at 2. It was unable to list all
entities on one check, so it interpleaded the $200, 000 with
the Court. Id Additionally, GDMIC has represented
that Conklin, Aizenman, and Krigel will file claims against
the $200, 000. Dkt. # 2, at 4-5. The Court thus finds, based
upon the complaint, that $200, 000 is the amount in dispute.
To the extent that one or more defendants seek additional
coverage, that issue is not before this Court; the only issue
is how to distribute the funds that GDMIC has agreed to pay,
the full amount of which has been deposited. The Court
therefore finds that it has subject matter jurisdiction of
plaintiff s interpleader action, and defendants' motion
to dismiss should be denied.
THEREFORE ORDERED that defendants' motion to dismiss
(Dkt. # 26) is denied.