United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Charlotte Division
D. Whitney Chief United States District Judge.
MATTER is before the Court on Interpleader Plaintiff Gerber
National Claim Services, LLC's (“Gerber”)
Motion for Order Directing the Deposit of Funds into the
Court Registry (Doc. No. 3) and Motion for Restraining Order
and Service of Process Authorized by 28 U.S.C. § 2361
(Doc. No. 5).
27, 2019, Gerber initiated this statutory interpleader
action, seeking this Court's assistance pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1335 in determining the fair, equitable, and
just distribution of $38, 117.63 under Gerber's control.
(Doc. No. 1). In the Complaint, it is alleged that in May
2016, Gerber and Carolina Technology Exchange, LLC
(“CTE”) executed a “Member Participation
Agreement” (the “Agreement”) by which CTE
agreed to perform work as an independent contractor for
Gerber. Section N of the Agreement provided that “[CTE]
may not assign any or all its rights hereunder, including the
right to receive money.” Id. at ¶ 10.
November 20, 2018, Gerber received an email, along with an
attached purported Notice of Assignment, from BlueVine
Capital, Inc. (“BlueVine”) stating that CTE
had assigned its rights to be paid under the Agreement to
BlueVine. Id. at ¶ 11. Judy Pryka, Gerber
Accounts Receivable/Accounts Payable Senior Specialist,
responded that same day to BlueVine that the request was
“[i]nvoiced received and proceeded” and also
“confirmed that we can update the remit address”
as of November 23, 2018. Id. at ¶ 12. On March
14, 2019, Art Omega, BlueVine Manager, emailed Ms. Pryka
indicating that BlueVine was not receiving payments from CTE
and seeking assurances that the assignment was set up.
Id. at ¶ 113. Ms. Pryka responded on March 18,
2019, and informed Mr. Omega that Gerber's system had
“all remittance going to BlueVine.” Id.
at ¶ 14. On April 8, 2019, Mr. Omega emailed Ms. Pryka
again to inform her that BlueVine was still not receiving
payments, and Ms. Pryka responded that she had updated the
address where payments were being sent. Id. at
¶ 15. On April 19, 2019, Anson Wu, Senior Portfolio
Analysist at BlueVine, sent an email, along with the Notice
of Assignment, to Ms. Pryka indicating that BlueVine had
perfected a UCC-1 lien filed against CTE. Id. at
¶ 16. Michael Miller, Senior Enterprise Underwriting
Manager at BlueVine, sent a follow up email to Ms. Pryka and
stated that he “highly recommend that-at a minimum-you
freeze payments to [CTE] until [Gerber's] legal team has
had the opportunity to research its obligations.”
Id. at ¶ 117.
8, 2019, Mark Flasch, General Manager at Gerber, contacted
Jonathan Clayton, who upon information and belief is believed
to be an Owner at CTE, about the information received from
BlueVine. Id. at ¶ 18. Mr. Clayton responded on
May 9, 2019, that CTE had “cancelled” its
relationship with BlueVine in February and that Gerber should
not pay BlueVine. Id. That day, Ms. Pryka contacted
Mr. Miller at BlueVine seeking additional evidence of the
assignment. Id. at ¶ 19. Mr. Miller responded
by providing a copy of the perfected UCC-1 lien and
“Invoice and Purchase Security Agreement” between
CTE and BlueVine dated November 13, 2018 and insisted that
BlueVine's agreement with CTE had not been terminated and
that BlueVine was the correct entity to receive
payment. Id. As suggested by BlueVine,
Gerber began withholding payment to CTE after May 1,
2019. As of the date of the filing, Gerber avers
that it has withheld $38, 117.63. Id. at ¶ 20.
6, 2019, Gerber received notice from CTE's counsel that
Gerber owes CTE $42, 893.23 in withheld payables and that
payment was not subject to any agreement with
BlueVine. Id. at ¶ 21. CTE also warned
that if payment was not received by July 1, 2019, CTE would
“seek all remedies available under law.”
Id. at ¶ 21. On June 11, 2019, Gerber received
notice from BlueVine's counsel demanding payment of all
sums due to CTE and warned that collection of these sums was
“subject to escalating litigation efforts.”
Id. at ¶ 22.
now seeks leave to pay the Court the Disbursed Funds ($38,
117.63) pursuant to statutory interpleader. (Doc. No. 3).
Gerber also moves for an Order restraining the
Defendants/Claimants from initiating or pursuing any
proceeding that would affect the Disputed Funds, and it seeks
national service of process pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
2361. (Doc. No. 5).
district courts have original jurisdiction over a civil
action for interpleader filed by any person or entity having
in its possession five hundred dollars or more if (1) two or
more adverse claimants of diverse citizenship may claim to be
entitled to the money and (2) the money has been paid to the
court. 28 U.S.C. § 1335(a). An action for statutory
interpleader is “an equitable remedy designed to
protect the stakeholder from multiple, inconsistent judgments
and to relieve it of the obligation of determining which
claimant is entitled to the fund.” Security Ins.
Co. of Hartford v. Arcade Textiles, Inc., 40 Fed.Appx.
767, 769 (4th Cir. 2002).
Gerber has alleged that the Defendants/Claimants have adverse
and competing claims in excess of $500.00 against assets
controlled by Gerber. Specifically, Gerber has alleged that
it holds $38, 117.63 in Disputed Funds, and that the
Defendants/Claimants have asserted adverse and competing
claims to such funds. Gerber has also alleged that at least
two of the adverse Defendants/Claimants are citizens of
different states. Namely, Gerber has alleged that CTE is a
citizen of North Carolina and BlueVine is a citizen of
Delaware and California. Finally, the Plaintiff stands ready
to deposit into the registry of the Court the full and total
amount of the Disputed funds, to wit, $38, 117.63.
Accordingly, the Court concludes that the jurisdictional
requirements of § 1335(a) are satisfied.
Court determines interpleader to be proper, consistent with
28 U.S.C. § 2361, the Court “may issue
its process for all claimants and enter its order restraining
them from instituting or prosecuting any proceeding in any
State or United States court affecting the property,
instrument[, ] or obligation involved in the interpleader
action until further order of the court.” 28 U.S.C.
§ 2361 (emphasis added). Section 2361 “allows
nationwide service of process, and thus permits the exercise
of personal jurisdiction over any claimant who has
established contacts anywhere in the United States, even if
that claimant does not have minimum contacts with the forum
state in which the federal interpleader court sits.”
Great W. Cas. Co. v. Fredrics, No. 1:10-CV-267, 2010
WL 4818010, at *2 (W.D. N.C. Nov. 22, 2010) (citation
omitted). In the exercise of this Court's discretion, the
Court denies Gerber's motion for a restraining order and
grants Gerber's motion for service of process.