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Edward D Jones & Co., LP v. American National Insurance Co.

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Aiken Division

December 10, 2019

Edward D. Jones & Co., L P, a Missouri limited partnership, Plaintiff in Interpleader,
v.
American National Insurance Company, a Texas corporation; Transamerica Premier Life Insurance Company, an Iowa corporation; Leslie Gorman, a South Carolina individual; Teressa Gorman, a South Carolina individual; Chris McNally, a South Carolina individual; John Does 1-50, Tommy Sherlock, third-party defendant. Defendants. American National Insurance Company, a Texas corporation, Cross-Claimant,
v.
Leslie Gorman, a South Carolina individual, Cross-Defendant. Leslie Gorman, a South Carolina individual; Teressa Gorman, a South Carolina individual; Chris McNally, a South Carolina individual; Cross-Claimants,
v.
American National Insurance Company, a Texas corporation; John Does 1-50; Transamerica Premier Life Insurance Company, an Iowa corporation, Cross-Defendants. Leslie Gorman, a South Carolina individual; Teressa Gorman, a South Carolina individual; Chris McNally, a South Carolina individual; Counter-Claimants,
v.
Edward D. Jones & Co., LP, a Missouri limited partnership, Counter-Defendant, American National Insurance Company, a Texas corporation, Third-Party Plaintiff.

          ORDER

         On January 2, 2019, Plaintiff Edward D. Jones & Co., LP, (“Edward Jones”) filed a Complaint for Interpleader against the above-captioned Defendants. (ECF No. 1.) The matter before the court is Edward Jones' Motion to Dismiss and Compel Arbitration as to Defendants Leslie Gorman, Teressa Gorman, and Chris McNally's Counterclaims (ECF No. 33).

         I. JURISDICTION

         Edward Jones claims that “subject matter jurisdiction exists . . . because the Complaint is [an] Interpleader [, ] Edward Jones has in its custody or possession property of the value or amount of $500 or more, and two or more adverse claimants named as defendants are . . . of adverse citizenship.” (Id. at 3 ¶ 9 (citing 28 U.S.C. §§ 1335, 1332 (2005)).) Section 1335 provides:

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, or having issued a note, bond, certificate, policy of insurance, or other instrument of value or amount of $500 or more, or providing for the delivery or payment or the loan of money or property of such amount or value, or being under any obligation written or unwritten to the amount of $500 or more, if
(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, or to any one or more of the benefits arising by virtue of any note, bond, certificate, policy or other instrument, or arising by virtue of any such obligation; and if
(2) the plaintiff has deposited such money or property or has paid the amount of or the loan or other value of such instrument or the amount due under such obligation into the registry of the court, there to abide the judgment of the court, or has given bond payable to the clerk of the court in such amount and with such surety as the court or judge may deem proper, conditioned upon the compliance by the plaintiff with the future order or judgment of the court with respect to the subject matter of the controversy.

28 U.S.C.A. § 1335.

         Diversity jurisdiction requires complete diversity of parties and an amount in controversy in excess of $75, 000, exclusive of interest and costs. See 28 U.S.C. Section 1332(a). Complete diversity of parties in a case means that no party on one side may be a citizen of the same state as any party on the other side. See Owen Equip. & Erection Co. v. Kroger, 437 U.S. 365, 372 (1978). The court has diversity jurisdiction over this case because Edward Jones has sufficiently pleaded that it and the above-captioned Defendants are citizens of different states[1] and that the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000. (See ECF No. 1 at 6 ¶ 27 (“Edward Jones continues to hold . . . 342, 762.00”).)

         II. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         Edward Jones, a financial services firm, claims that it is in possession of $342, 762.00 to which each Defendant has declared an interest. (Id. at 2.) Edward Jones alleges that Defendants American National Insurance Company (“American National”) and Transamerica Premier Life Insurance Company (“Transamerica”) issued life insurance policies naming its clients, Defendants Leslie Gorman, Teressa Gorman, and Chris McNally (the “Gorman Defendants”), as beneficiaries. (Id. at 4.) Specifically, Edward Jones alleges the following transactions occurred:

1. In March 2017, American National issued a check on a policy payable to Defendant Leslie Gorman in the amount of $149, 588.75, which she deposited into her account at Edward Jones;
2. In June 2017, Defendant Leslie Gorman transferred $28, 000.00 from her account to an account held by Defendant Teressa Gorman;
3. In August 2018, Defendant Transamerica issued four death benefits checks totaling $85, 008.59 payable to Defendants Leslie Gorman and Chris McNally;
4. In November 2018, Defendants Chris McNally and Teressa Gorman, acting with power of attorney for Defendant Leslie Gorman, deposited the $85, 008.59 into their Edward Jones accounts;
5. In November 2018, Defendant Teressa Gorman, acting with power of attorney for Defendant Leslie Gorman, deposited a Bank of America cashier's check in the amount of ...

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