paintings to Garcia when it was on notice of the Philippines' claim to ownership of the Paintings. It is only in this interpleader action that the competing claims to ownership of the Paintings can be resolved and effective relief granted.
While Garcia insists that Commerce & Indus. Ins. Co. v. Cablewave Ltd., 412 F. Supp. 204, 207 (S.D.N.Y. 1976), requires a different result, this Court is unpersuaded by her argument. It is true, as the Cablewave court found, that "interpleader relief may be denied if there is an adequate remedy elsewhere," and that "federal courts should 'not be called upon to duplicate each other's work in cases involving the same issues and the same parties.'" Id. (quoting Semmes Motors, Inc. v. Ford Motor Co., 429 F.2d 1197, 1203 (2d Cir. 1970)). However, the present case is not one in which the Court can conclude that there is an adequate remedy elsewhere, since, as noted above, the Philippines is not a party to the Virginia action, and the issues in the Virginia Action are separate and distinct from those raised herein.
Nor does the "substantial time" of the court and the litigants that has been invested in the Virginia Action compare to that of the Court and the litigants in Cablewave, where the Alabama District Court had denied motions to dismiss for failure to state a claim, motions for summary judgment were pending, documentary discovery was underway, and trial was expected in approximately one month. 412 F. Supp. at 207 n.6. The Virginia Action was commenced only two months before Sotheby's interpleader action, as of September 16, 1992, no depositions had yet taken place, and the trial set for December 1, 1992 in Virginia is only one week earlier than the December 7, 1992 trial scheduled in this interpleader action. Even if the Philippines could be joined in the Virginia Action, its joinder would introduce a new claim with new issues, new discovery, and new motions. In contrast, this interpleader action already involves all the parties and is set to move expeditiously forward.
All of the above-enumerated considerations lead the Court to conclude that proceeding with the interpleader action filed in the Southern District of New York is the most equitable, as well as the most efficient, course to follow.
Motion for an Injunction against Further Prosecution of the Virginia Action
An injunction against overlapping lawsuits is desirable to insure the effectiveness of the interpleader remedy. It prevents the multiplicity of actions and reduces the possibility of inconsistent determinations. See Wright, Miller & Kane, 7 Federal Practice & Procedure: Civil 2d § 1717, at 612 (2d ed. 1986). Section 2361 provides in pertinent part:
In any civil action of interpleader or in the nature of interpleader under section 1335 of this title, a district 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.
Section 2361 enables a party meeting the requirements of Section 1335 to obtain a restraining order without following the procedures set forth in Rule 65, Fed. R. Civ. P., which normally governs the issuance of injunctive relief.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 65(e) ("These rules do not modify . . . the provisions of Title 28, U.S.C., § 2361").
An injunction against proceeding with the Virginia Action is necessary to protect the res before the Court and insure that the Philippines will have a proper forum to litigate its claim to the Paintings. Accordingly, all parties herein and any person acting in their behalf are hereby enjoined from continuing or bringing any action, in any court, concerning the Paintings that are the subject of this action.
For the foregoing reasons, Garcia's motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, or in the alternative, to stay this action pending resolution of the action commenced in the Eastern District of Virginia is denied. The motions of Sotheby's and the Philippines to enjoin the further prosecution of the Virginia Action and the institution of any new actions concerning the Paintings that are the subject matter of this suit are granted.
Dated: New York, New York
September 30, 1992
William C. Conner
United States District Judge