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Cohen v. The Republic of the Philippines

Citation. 146 F.R.D. 90, 1993 U.S. Dist. 1412, 26 Fed. R. Serv. 3d (Callaghan) 84
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Brief Fact Summary.

Imelda R. Marcos (Marcos) sought to intervene in an action between the Plaintiffs, March Cohen and Marc Cohen & Co. (Plaintiffs) against the Defendants, Klaus Braemer (Braemer) and the Republic of the Philippines (Philippines) (Defendants), regarding the ownership of four paintings.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

A person should be granted leave to intervene so long as he complies with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 24(a)’s requirements that the motion be timely filed, that he has an interest in the subject of the action, that he is likely to be prejudiced by the action and that the existing parties are unlikely to adequately protect his interest.


At issue was the ownership of four paintings whose total value is nearly $5,000,000. In 1991, Plaintiffs received the paintings on consignment from Braemer, who was Marcos’ agent entrusted to run her home in which the paintings had previously been hung. Braemer demanded return of the paintings in March of 1992, but Plaintiff refused because he was uncertain who actually owned them. Later, Plaintiff brought an interpleader action against Defendants. Braemer claimed that Marcos authorized him to sell the paintings, and asserted a direct interest in the paintings originating from a loan made to Marcos and another loan that Braemer guaranteed for Marcos. The Philippines claims that the paintings were acquired with Philippine Government funds for the benefit of the Philippines and claims to be the right owner of the paintings. Marcos sought to intervene in the action, claiming that the paintings are her property.


Whether to allow a person to intervene in an action involving the ownership of several paintings where the person seeking to intervene claims to be the rightful owner of the paintings.


Marco’s motion for leave to intervene was granted with conditions because she complied with the requirements of FRCP Rule 24(a). Marco’s intervention is timely, Marcos has an interest in the paintings that are the subject of this interpleader action, Marco’s actions are likely to be prejudiced by the action and the existing parties are unlikely to adequately protect Macro’s interest.


Students should be cognizant of the relationship between intervention under FRCP Rule 24 and FRCP Rule 19 regarding interpleaders. Where parties are deemed indispensable to the litigation, they are much more likely to be granted permission to intervene.

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