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MASSACHUSETTS MUT. LIFE INS. CO. v. CENTRAL-PENN N

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA


August 30, 1973

MASSACHUSETTS MUTUAL LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY
v.
CENTRAL-PENN NATIONAL BANK OF PHILADELPHIA et al.

Luongo, District Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: LUONGO

Luongo, District Judge.

This is an interpleader action under 28 U.S.C. ยง 1335. The question before the court is whether the scope of this proceeding should be limited to a resolution of the priority of claims to a fund admitted to be due, or be expanded to resolve disputes between the interpleading plaintiff and the person to whom it admittedly owes some money concerning the contract between them which gave rise to the indebtedness. For reasons hereafter stated, I conclude that these proceedings will be restricted to a determination of the priorities to the fund with limited inquiry as to whether the interpleading party has paid the proper amount into court.

 HISTORY

 By a contract dated April 1, 1951, Gordon S. Miller became a general agent for Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (Mass. Mutual). The contract provided, inter alia, for the payment to Miller of commissions on insurance policies written during Miller's general agency, including some continuing payments of commissions on renewals at reduced rates after termination *fn1" of the agency. While serving as a general agent for Mass. Mutual, Miller engaged in various outside financial transactions, in some of which he made assignments of amounts due him under the contract, and others of which resulted in judgments against him and subsequent attachments of the amounts due him under the contract. On July 6, 1966, Mass. Mutual terminated Miller's contract as general agent.

 On July 24, 1967, because of a multiplicity of claims and attachments asserted against it by creditors holding assignments from, or judgments against, Miller, Mass. Mutual filed this complaint in interpleader, naming as defendants Central-Penn National Bank, Lehigh Valley Trust Co. (now Industrial Valley Bank), Mercantile Financial Corp., Curtiss National Bank, Federation Bank and Trust Co. (now Franklin National Bank), Marine Midland Grace Trust Co., Isadore Mokrin and Dorothy Mokrin, Pioneer Leasing Corp., Gordon S. Miller and Mrs Gordon S. Miller. With the filing of the complaint, Mass. Mutual paid into the registry of the court the sum of money which it contended was then due and owing to Miller *fn2" ($ 173,845.39) as commissions under the contract, with renewal commissions computed at the reduced rates following termination of the general agency. To date (as of June 30, 1973) the accrued commissions total $612,398.89; Mass. Mutual estimates there will be another $62,000 added to this fund. The parties are agreed that if commissions were paid at the unreduced rates, the size of the fund would be increased by over $500,000.

 After the complaint was filed, Curtiss National Bank withdrew its claim with prejudice. On December 9, 1968, two Florida attorneys, Guilmartin and Bartel, were permitted, by stipulation, to intervene as defendants. The claims and attachments, and the bases therefor, are: Central-Penn National Bank $ 550,000.00 Assignment, Note 4/25/63 Financing Statements 6/6/63 Franklin National Bank 62,000.00 Attachment in Massachusetts 2/7/66 (Superior Court of Suffolk County, Equity No. 85075) Mercantile Financial Corp. 165,021.12 Judgment on guaranty agreement in E.D. Pa. 9/22/65 (Civil Action No. 39086) Writ of Execution on all but wages and salaries 1/66/66 Marine Midland Grace Trust Co. 34,357.03 Judgment on note in E.D. Pa. 6/29/66 (Civil Action No. 40569); Petition to Reach and Apply in D. Mass. 7/15/66 (EBD No. 66-103) Isadore and Dorothy Mokrin 221,056.03 Judgment in Pennsylvania 3/17/67 (Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia County, March Term 1967, No. 1002) Attachment in Massachusetts 4/20/67 Lehigh Valley Trust Co. $ 100,000.00 Assignment 5/6/64 No financing statement Admitted subordination to Central-Penn Pioneer Leasing Corp. 27,620.02 New Jersey Judgment on lease 12/2/66 (Superior Court, Law Division, Camden County, No. L-23323-65) Attachment in Massachusetts 11/17/67 (District Court of Springfield, Hampden County, No. 191365) Guilmartin & Bartel 13,232.19 Florida judgment for fees 3/14/68 (Circuit Court of Eleventh Judicial Circuit for Dade County, No. 68-2416) Florida Writ of Garnishment 4/8/68 TOTAL Claims and Attachments $ 1,173,286.39

19730830

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