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State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. v. Tashire

United States Supreme Court
386 U.S. 523, 87 S.Ct. 1199 (1967)



A Greyhound bus transporting over 30 passengers collided with a pickup truck while traveling early one morning in Shasta County, California. Two of the passengers were killed, and 33 individuals were injured. The injured included Ellis Clark, who was driving the pickup truck, and Clark's passenger, who owned the pickup. Four of the injured passengers brought suit in California state courts, seeking over $1 million in damages from Greyhound, the bus driver, Clark, and Clark's passenger. State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. (State Farm) (plaintiff) brought an interpleader action in the United States District Court for the District of Oregon before any of the suits went to trial. State Farm had an insurance policy with Clark, under which State Farm agreed to be liable for bodily injury up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 total per action, as well as for Clark’s attorneys’ fees pursuant to that action. State Farm paid into the court $20,000 and filed a complaint requesting, in part, that the court require all plaintiffs to establish their claims against State Farm in a single proceeding. The court issued an order requiring all the parties to show why they should not be restricted to bringing their claims in the same court pursuant to the same proceeding. The district court eventually issued an injunction requiring that all suits against Clark, State Farm, Greyhound, and the bus driver had to be prosecuted in the interpleader proceeding. The court of appeals reversed on interlocutory appeal, finding that use of interpleader was improper in the case. State Farm appealed, and the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Fortas, J.)

Dissent (Douglas, J.)

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