(a) Interpleader May Be Required. Persons having claims against the plaintiff may be joined as defendants and required to interplead when their claims are such that the plaintiff is or may be exposed to double or multiple liability. It is not ground for objection to the joinder that the claims of the several claimants or the titles on which their claims depend do not have a common origin or are not identical but are adverse to and independent of one another, or that the plaintiff avers that he is not liable in whole or in part to any or all of the claimants. A defendant exposed to similar liability may obtain such interpleader by way of cross-claim or counter-claim. The provisions of this rule supplement and do not in any way limit the joinder of parties permitted in Rule 20.
This Rule 22(a) is the same as the Federal Rule. Federal Rule 22(b) is deleted because it refers to the Federal Interpleader Act which is inapplicable in State procedure. Rule 22(a) broadens the remedy of interpleader permitted under Code § 15-5-200. First, the remedy is of right and not in the discretion of the court. Second, interpleader may be brought by the applicant whether or not he is a party to the pending action. The remedy is not limited to defensive interpleader. Third, the traditional requirement that "the same debt or property" be claimed by the competing claimants gave rise to many technical and unjust decisions and has been abolished. Fourth, the plaintiff may aver that he is not liable in whole or in part to any or all of the claimants, and may remain in the litigation as a party. Fifth, there is no requirement that the applicant file an affidavit denying collusion. Thus the historical common law requirements of bills of interpleader or bills in the nature of interpleader are abolished.
(b) Release From Liability, Deposit, Delivery, or Bond. Any party seeking interpleader, as provided in subdivision (a) of this rule, may deposit with the court the amount claimed, or deliver to the court or as otherwise directed by the court the property claimed, or give bond payable to the clerk of the court in such amount and with such surety as the court may deem proper, conditioned upon the compliance by the plaintiff with the further order of judgment of the court with respect to the subject matter of the controversy. The court may thereupon order such party discharged from liability as to such claims, and the action continued as between claimants of such money or property.
This Rule 22(b) is new, and not in the Federal Rule. It is added to provide expressly for payment into court and discharge from liability as is now provided by Code § 15-5-200.