Holt Texas, Ltd., et al. v. Zayler, No. 13-41153 (5th Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
Holt and TAUG, subcontractors of the bankrupt Seiber, appealed the district court's affirmance of a prior bankruptcy court order, holding that the funds of an interpleader action, filed by EnCana, were property of the bankruptcy estate of Seiber, not EnCana, because the interpleader action extinguished the earlier construction liens of Holt and TAUG. The court upheld the validity of TAUG's chapter 56 lien where TAUG had a valid mineral lien against EnCana's property at the time EnCana was discharged from further liability to Seiber; as to Holt, the district court did not err in holding EnCana's interpleader and its deposited funds automatically satisfied its liability to Seiber, thus transferring legal possession of the funds to Seiber and the bankruptcy estate; the district court and bankruptcy courts erred in failing to draw the distinction between the act of depositing funds into the district court registry and the judicial act of discharging the depositor of any further liability; simply depositing interpleader funds does not automatically mean that the funds have been legally accepted, ownership thereof transferred, and the interpleader relieved of further duty to the court or further obligation to the parties of the dispute; the court need not address whether chapter 56 allows the liens to extend to the funds because the bankruptcy court entered an order, separate from this appeal, ruling on the interpleader and discharging EnCana; and, therefore, the court vacated and remanded for further proceedings.