United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division
C. NORTON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
following matter is before the court on plaintiff Parker
Meyer's (“Meyer”) motion to deposit funds and
restrain defendants, ECF No. 5, and defendants Jeffrey
Anderson (“Anderson”) and Jeff Anderson &
Associates, P.A.'s (“JAA”) (collectively,
“defendants”) motion for a more definite
statement, ECF No. 8. For the reasons set forth below, the
court denies the motion to deposit funds and restrain
defendants and grants in part and denies in part the motion
for a more definite statement.
formed an attorney-client relationship with Meyer in 2014.
Anderson is an attorney who own and operates JAA. Without
providing any additional context beyond her relationship with
defendants, Meyer generally alleges that defendants
“chose to invent, and chose to publicize, false and
derogatory information about [Meyer], falsely purporting to
claim intimate knowledge of [Meyer] to do so.” Compl.
¶ 12. Defendants allegedly did so without Meyer's
permission and “without a proper investigation.”
Id. Meyer explicitly states that the allegedly false
information is not repeated in the complaint, but that
defendants' statements containing the false information
were made under oath and in public documents. Id.
¶¶ 17-18. Meyer then alleges that in 2017, she was
publicly attacked based on the false information spread by
defendants. Id. ¶ 20. Meyer does not allege in
what way she was publicly attacked or by whom. When Meyer
realized that the source of the information was defendants,
she alleged asked defendants about their conduct, and
defendants denied making any false or derogatory statements
about Meyer. Id. ¶¶ 20-21. Meyer
“responded to [Anderson]'s blatant lying by
confronting him about having lied to her” and sought
more information from him about the statements, but
defendants did not respond to Meyer. Id.
¶¶ 23-25. Meyer alleges that as a result of
defendants' spreading false information about her, Meyer
was forced to “compromise her cases at a deep discount
rather than run the risk of trying her cases” when
allegedly defendants had previously believed that Meyer's
cases “were each seven-figure cases.”
Id. ¶¶ 41-42.
brought claims against defendants for breach of fiduciary
duty and professional negligence and against JAA for aiding
and abetting breach of fiduciary duty. Meyer also brought an
interpleader claim against defendants. Pursuant to the
interpleader claim, Meyer filed a motion to deposit funds and
restrain defendants on March 5, 2019. ECF No. 5. Defendants
responded to the motion on March 19, 2019, ECF No. 6, to
which Meyer replied on March 26, 2019, ECF No. 12. Defendants
also filed motion for a more definite statement on March 22,
2019. ECF No. 8. Meyer responded on April 5, 2019, ECF No.
14, and defendants replied on April 10, 2019, ECF No. 16.
Both motions are now ripe for review.
Motion to Deposit Funds and Restrain Defendants
to Meyer, defendants are claiming a fee interest in
Meyer's personal litigation to which they are not
entitled based on the conduct alleged in this case.
Meyer's current counsel holds in his trust account the
fee to which defendants claim interest, and Meyer wants the
court to hold these funds and prevent their distribution to
defendants until this case is resolved. As such, Meyer asks
the court to enter an order (1) authorizing the clerk of
court to accept the contested funds that will be under
control of the court pending the court's determination of
the parties' rights and obligations pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1335, and (2) restraining defendants from instituting
any proceeding affecting the funds involved in this suit
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2361.
provide further context to Meyer's request in their
response. They explain that when Meyer hired defendants to
represent her, the parties entered into a contingency fee
agreement. During Meyer's litigation, one of JAA's
former attorneys, Gregg Meyers (“Meyers”), left
JAA, and Meyer independently retained him as her counsel.
Meyers is also Meyer's counsel in this case. Pursuant to
Minnesota and South Carolina settlement agreements,
defendants and Meyers allegedly agreed to equally split any
fees earned during the representation of Meyer. However,
Meyer has only paid legal fees to Meyers and not to
defendants. Defendants argue that Meyer is simply seeking to
avoid paying defendants and is not entitled to her requested
interpleader relief because this is not a proper interpleader
action. Specifically, they argue that this is not a proper
interpleader action because: (1) there is no risk of
inconsistent judgments or multiple litigation over the funds;
(2) there are not two or more diverse, adverse claimants to
the funds; and (3) Meyer is not in control of the funds.
Defendants also argue that Meyer is not entitled to the
injunctive relief under § 2361 because she has not
brought a proper interpleader action.
is a procedural device that allows a disinterested
stakeholder to bring a single action joining two or more
adverse claimants to a single fund.” Sec. Ins. Co.
of Hartford v. Arcade Textiles, Inc., 40 Fed.Appx. 767,
769 (4th Cir. 2002). It “is an equitable remedy
designed to protect the stakeholder from multiple,
inconsistent judgments and to relieve it of the obligation of
determining which claimant is entitled to the fund.”
Id. Interpleaders are used when multiple parties
claim stake in a single fund, and the party in control of the
fund asks the court to retain control of the fund while the
court determines which party is entitled to the fund.
See, e.g., Tapp v. Minnesota Life Ins. Co.,
2017 WL 2839636, at *2 (D.S.C. June 29, 2017) (ordering funds
to be deposited with court pursuant to interpleader statute
because the plaintiff and the decedent's estate both
claimed to be the sole beneficiaries of the decedent's
life insurance policy).
are two types of interpleader: statutory and rule-based. A
statutory interpleader exists pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1335, which provides that:
(a) The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of
any civil action of interpleader or in the nature of
interpleader filed by any person, firm, or corporation,
association, or society having in his or its custody or
possession money or property of the value of $500 or more . .
(1) Two or more adverse claimants, of diverse citizenship as
defined in subsection (a) or (d) of section 1332 of this
title, are claiming or may claim to be entitled to such money
or property . . .; and if (2) the plaintiff has deposited
such money or property . . . into the registry of the court,
there to abide the judgment of the court, . . . conditioned
upon the compliance by the plaintiff with the future order or
judgment of the court with respect to the subject matter of
(b) Such an action may be entertained although the titles or
claims of the conflicting claimants do not have a common
origin, or are not identical, but are adverse ...