payment into court

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1) Money or property that is given to the court clerk to be distributed after a lawsuit is concluded. Typically, the person making payment into court is a defendant who may be found liable to the plaintiff; the payment into court is meant to satisfy any potential liability. If the defendant is found liable, the payment into court goes to the plaintiff. If the defendant is found not liable, then the defendant receives the payment into court back. Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 67, payment into court is referred to as “deposit into court.” Also, certain states, for example Massachusetts, require that money paid into court be held in an interest-bearing account. Massachusetts Superior Court Rule 22. If the defendant or person who paid money into court is found not liable, they receive their money with interest.

However, a person making such a payment need not be involved in the lawsuit but may simply owe money or property to which the parties dispute ownership. For example, a customer might make payment into court for money owed to a business partnership, if the partnership has dissolved and one partner is suing the other for ownership of the business's assets.

2) In landlord-tenant law, rent money that a tenant deposits with a court during a dispute with the landlord, often to avoid eviction.

[Last updated in August of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]