United States District Court, W.D. Texas, Austin Division
PITMAN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Court enters the following order to advise all parties on the
status of this case and set a deadline for Defendants to
assert any claims.
interpleader action has two stages. Rhoades v.
Casey, 196 F.3d 592, 600 (5th Cir. 1999). First, the
court determines whether to allow a plaintiff to join
defendants with competing claims to a single fund in the
plaintiff's possession. Id. If the court
approves the interpleader action, the plaintiff may deposit
the funds with the court and be dismissed from the case.
Sanchez v. Prudential Inv. Mgmt., Inc., No.
5:15-CV-982-DAE, 2017 WL 5177644, at *3 (W.D. Tex. Jan. 6,
2017). The second stage of the case determines the
defendants' respective rights to the disputed funds.
case will now proceed to the second stage, pursuant to the
Dismissal of Minnesota Life
April 8, 2019, Plaintiff Minnesota Life Insurance Company
(“Minnesota Life”) advised the Court that all
parties had agreed to a proposed order granting interpleader,
which the Court granted. (See Advisories, Dkts. 8,
9; Order, Dkt. 10).
Order directed Minnesota Life to pay the benefits of Ms.
William's life insurance policy, totaling approximately
$35, 000 after attorney's fees, into the Court's
registry within 30 days. (Order, Dkt. 10, at 2). The Order
provided that upon payment of the amounts described above,
Minnesota Life is dismissed from this lawsuit, and discharged
any further liability pertaining in any way to the life
insurance policy issued on the life of Marion Williams,
deceased, and Defendants. (Id.).
Life has now completed its obligations under the Order by
depositing the funds with the Court on May 2, 2019. Pursuant
to the Order, the Court will dismiss Minnesota Life from this
Obligations of the Defendant-Claimants
the interpleader now approved and the funds deposited with
the Court, the Court must determine the defendants'
respective rights to the disputed funds. However, none of the
Defendants have yet participated in this case as required.
The Court will allow one extension to allow Defendants to
participate in this case and assert any claims they might
have to the funds.
Life filed the action on November 8, 2018. (Dkt. 1). Each
Defendant executed a waiver a service, and all
Defendants' Answers were due on January 7, 2019.
(See Raglin and Taylor Waiver, Dkts. 2; Lair Waiver,
Dkt. 3; Jenkins Waiver, Dkt. 4). However, no Defendant has
filed an answer or appeared in this case at any time. The
Court warns Defendants that when a party fails to timely
plead or defend their case, the court may hold them in
default. Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(a). A party in default waives any
claim to the funds in dispute. See Lincoln Nat'l Life
Ins. Co. v. Allen, No. 6:16-CV-00139-RP-JCM, 2017 WL
8896874, at *1 (W.D. Tex. Jan. 9, 2017), report and
recommendation adopted, No. 6-16-CV-139-RP, 2017 WL
8939949 (W.D. Tex. Mar. 1, 2017).
the parties have not yet submitted a proposed scheduling
order. Parties are required to submit a proposed scheduling
order to the Court no later than sixty days after any
appearance of any defendant. See W.D. Tex. Loc. R.
CV-16(c). Defendants were due to appear no later than January
Court will grant an extension of 60 days from the date of
this order for each Defendant to file an individual answer
and for the Defendants to file a joint proposed scheduling
order. Failure to do so may result in the dismissal of this
action with prejudice. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 41(b)
(action may be dismissed for want of prosecution or failure
to comply with court order); Larson v. Scott, 157
F.3d 1030, 1031 (5th Cir. 1998) (district court has authority
to dismiss case for want of prosecution or failure to comply
with court order).