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Supreme Court of the United States
October 3, 2022, Argued; February 28, 2023, Decided1
Nos. 145, Orig. and 146, Orig.
[*28] Justice Jackson delivered the opinion of the Court. 2
] “Escheatment” is the power of a State, as a sovereign, to take custody [*29] of property deemed abandoned. Texas v. New Jersey, 379 U. S. 674, 675, 85 S. Ct. 626, 13 L. Ed. 2d 596 (1965). In the context of tangible property, the escheatment rule is straightforward: The State in which the abandoned property is located has the power to take custody of it. Id., at 677, 85 S. Ct. 626, 13 L. Ed. 2d 596. But determining which State has the power to escheat intangible property, which has no physical location, can be complicated, as multiple States may have arguable claims. See ibid.
These original jurisdiction cases require us to decide which States have the power to escheat the proceeds of certain [**9] abandoned financial products that MoneyGram Payment Systems, Inc. (MoneyGram) possesses. Delaware argues that this Court’s common-law rules of escheatment apply, which means that the abandoned proceeds should go to Delaware as MoneyGram’s State of incorporation. A collective of other States (the Defendant States) argues that a federal statute—the Disposition of Abandoned Money Orders and Traveler’s Checks Act (Federal Disposition Act or FDA), 88 Stat. 1525, 12 U. S. C. §2501 et seq.—governs the products at issue, and therefore, as a general matter, the abandoned proceeds should escheat to the State where the products were purchased. We hold that the FDA covers the instruments in question and thus that they should generally escheat to the State of purchase, pursuant to §2503.
To decide which escheatment rules apply, we must interpret a federal statute that abrogates our precedent. Thus, we begin with a discussion of this Court’s common-law rules for escheatment, followed by a description of the statute that partially displaced those rules.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
215 L. Ed. 2d 24 *; 2023 U.S. LEXIS 1037 **; 143 S. Ct. 696; 29 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 692; 2023 WL 2247231
DELAWARE, PLAINTIFF 145, Orig. v. PENNSYLVANIA AND WISCONSIN ;ARKANSAS, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS 146, Orig. v. DELAWARE
Notice: The pagination of this document is subject to change pending release of the final published version.
Prior History: [**1] ON EXCEPTIONS TO REPORTS OF SPECIAL MASTER
Delaware v. Pennsylvania, 2021 U.S. LEXIS 6295 (U.S., July 23, 2021)
Disposition: Exceptions to Special Master’s First Interim Report overruled; First Interim Report and order adopted to the extent consistent with this opinion; and cases remanded.
money order, escheatment, Instruments, third party, bank check, abandoned, proceeds, checks, inequitable, products, financial instrument, records, common-law, purchasers, payee, recordkeeping, traveler’s, prepaid, business practice, secondary, parties, cases, funds, common law, banks, incorporation, similarity, purposes, entity, written instrument
Estate, Gift & Trust Law, Estate Administration, Intestate Succession, Escheat, Real Property Law, Ownership & Transfer, Death & Incapacity, Governments, Legislation, Interpretation