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A special master for the U.S. Supreme Court will soon decide whether to narrow or expand a dispute between Delaware and 29 states over abandoned MoneyGram payments ( Delaware v. Wisconsin & Pennsylvania , U.S., No. 22O145, status conference 6/5/17 ; Arkansas v. Delaware, U.S., No. 22O146, status conference 6/5/17 ).
The Hon. Pierre N. Leval, the special master assigned to the case, met with the parties in a conference June 5 to hear opinions on a number of motions that could broaden the scope of the case.
The conflict involves as much as a quarter-billion dollars in unclaimed “official checks” from MoneyGram Payment Systems Inc., a wholly owned Texas-based subsidiary of MoneyGram International Inc. The case has the potential to rewrite laws governing unclaimed property, a topic the Supreme Court last addressed almost a quarter century ago in Delaware v. New York.
Leval is soon expected to decide whether:
The dispute centers on which state has the right to escheat the official checks, prepaid notes similar to both a teller’s check and a money order. Delaware asserts the abandoned payments belong to Delaware because MoneyGram is incorporated there. Other states liken the payments to money orders, which, under federal law, belong to the state where they were purchased.
Unclaimed property is Delaware’s third-largest revenue source and is increasingly sought after by other states.
The parties in the case declined to comment, saying they were awaiting Leval’s decision. Leval could decide on the matters within a few weeks, they said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Leslie A. Pappas in Philadelphia at LPappas@bna.com
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Filings made with the special master are at http://src.bna.com/pyq.
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