Where, under the allegations of the petitioner, facts are presented that the plaintiffs would be under no real risk in paying two claimants and refusing to pay another claimant, and that the rights of the two claimants are not related to the other claimant's rights, no cause is set forth for interpleader.
In their petition the plaintiffs alleged: that they had listed for sale with the defendant Hester the property of the Whitefoord Baptist Church; that, pursuant to this, the defendant Hester had contacted the defendant Calhoun, and that they had contacted Rev. L. J. Jones and his Bishop of the Turner Memorial A. M. E. Church regarding the sale of the property to the Turner Memorial Church; that, subsequently, the plaintiffs gave an exclusive listing to the defendant Siler, who negotiated with the other defendants and the trustees of Turner Memorial Church regarding the purchase of the property; that no deal or consummation of any deal was ever had during the term of the defendant Siler's exclusive listing; that, subsequently to the expiration of the exclusive-listing agreement with the defendant Siler, the defendants Hester and Calhoun again contacted, negotiated, and finally closed the sale of the property to Turner Memorial Church; that the defendant Calhoun still retains $500 paid to him as earnest money and claims it as part of his sales commission; that the defendants Calhoun and Hester claim a total of $3,060 as their sales commission.
Further pertinent averments of the petition are: that the defendant Siler has filed suit against the plaintiffs, claiming $3,030 as real-estate commission due him in the sale of the property of Whitefoord; that, if the defendant Siler was allowed to proceed, it would cause the plaintiffs undue hardship, trouble, multiplicity of suits, and irreparable harm and injury, and might result in the plaintiffs paying a double sales commission.
The plaintiffs prayed that the parties be required to interplead their claims, and that the defendant Siler be restrained from proceeding with his suit. The trial judge overruled the defendant Calhoun's general demurrer to the petition, on which ruling said defendant assigned error.
Bank of Dawson, 191 Ga. 208, 221 (11 SE2d 910). "Real doubt or danger alone authorizes one to file a petition for interpleader." Knight v. Jackson, 156 Ga. 165, 167 (118 SE 661). Here the plaintiffs' own allegations affirmatively show that the exclusive-listing agreement with the defendant Siler had expired. There is no indication as to why the plaintiffs would be under any "shadow of risk" in refusing to pay Siler's claim, nor why they should fail to pay the defendants Hester and Calhoun, whose claims, the petition alleges, were based on their consummation of the sale.
Further, an examination of the petition evinces the obvious conclusion that the rights of the defendant Siler, derived from the exclusive-listing contract, are entirely unrelated to those of the other two defendants, Hester and Calhoun, and are not dependent upon their rights. The defendant Siler's claim, if valid, would present a question of double liability and not of double vexation for a single liability. Thus, the plaintiffs are not of such disinterested attitude as to the conflicting claimants which is a prerequisite to interpleader. Lilley v. Nixon, 214 Ga. 548 (105 SE2d 716)
and cases cited.
This case clearly falls under the rules pronounced in Lilley v. Nixon, supra. The court erred in overruling the defendant's general demurrer.