Interpleader of Maritime Claims: A Collision Between Double Vexation and Admiralty Jurisdiction

Article by Brian P. Maloney

This Article explores the development of the interpleader remedy in the federal courts and the complications posed by its application in Hapag-Lloyd. Part II presents a history of the interpleader remedy in the federal courts from its roots at common law to the present. Part III questions whether Hapag-Lloyd's focus on the “same enrichment” is the right question to ask in determining interpleader jurisdiction, when different in personam and in rem obligations arise in typical fuel bunker transactions. This Article concludes by considering questions about the reach of the holding in Hapag-Lloyd and the future viability of maritime interpleader claims for vessel owners that consent to jurisdiction, in light of the federal courts' increasing willingness to entertain and broaden the interpleader remedy.

About the Author

Brian P. Maloney is a senior associate specializing in complex civil litigation at Seward & Kissel LLP. Since November 2014, he has represented ING Bank N.V. as Security Agent in over fifty interpleader and arrest actions in the United States arising from the collapse of the O.W. Bunker Group, a global provider of marine fuel. These actions have typically presented competing in rem maritime lien claims and additional in personam claims for relief between and among the competing claimants. Litigation remains ongoing in the district courts and on appeal, with some fifteen actions pending before the Second, Fifth, Ninth, and Eleventh Circuits.


92 Tul. L. Rev. 1063 (2018)