INTERPLEADER, practice. Interpleaders may be had at law and in equity.
2. An interpleader at law a proceeding in the action of detinue, by which the defendant states the fact that the thing sued for is in his hands, and that it is claimed by a third person, and that whether such person or the plaintiff is entitled to it, is unknown to the defendant, and thereupon the defendant prays, that a process of garnishment may be issued to compel such third person, so claiming, to become defendant in his stead. 3 Reeves, Hist. of the Eng. Law, ch. 23; Mitford, Eq. Pl. by Jeremy, 141; Story, Eq. Jur. 800, 801, 802. Interpleader is allowed to avoid inconvenience; for two parties claiming adversely to each other, cannot be entitled to the same thing. Bro. Abr. Interpleader, 4. Hence the rule which requires the defendant to allege that different parties demand the same thing. Id. pl. 22.
3. If two persons sue the same person in detinue for the thing, and both action; are depending in the same court at the same time, the defendant may plead that fact, produce the thing (e. g. a deed or charter in court, and aver his readiness to deliver it to either as the court shall adjudge; and thereupon pray that they may interplead. In such a case it has been settled that the plaintiff whose writ bears the earliest teste has the right to begin the interpleading, and the other will be compelled to answer. Bro. Abr. Interpl. 2.
4. In equity, interpleaders are common. Vide Bill of Interpleader, and 8 Vin. Ab. 419; Doct. Pl. 247; 3 Bl. Com. 448; Com. Dig. Chancery, 3 T; 2 Story, Eq. Jur. 800.