Declaratory Judgment and Interpleader Actions in Insurance Cases

February 28, 2002

Scope of Article

Declaratory judgment and interpleader actions can be very useful in insurance disputes. Declaratory judgment may be used to resolve issues such as whether a policy was validly issued or otherwise is in effect, the meaning of policy provisions, and the duties of the parties under the policy.  See generally  Long, Rowland H., The Law of Liability Insurance, Vol. 3, Matthew Bender 1993 . Interpleader actions are employed to allow rival claimants to be the same fund or property to litigate their competing claims against one another rather than against an innocent stakeholder.  See Savings & Profit Sharing Fund v. Stubbs, 734 S.W.2d 76, 79 (Tex. App.–Austin 1987, no writ.).

This paper is intended to serve as a general primer on the use in insurance cases of declaratory judgment and interpleader actions, and to highlight the key issues involved in prosecuting or defending against those types of actions.

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