DE Abandoned Property Law Faces Constitutional Question

Mar 12, 2015

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - A federal judge has refused to dismiss a lawsuit challenging Delaware's abandoned property collection system, raising questions about the constitutional validity of one of the state's largest revenue sources.

Wednesday's ruling involves a lawsuit filed last year by Temple-Inland Inc., a packaging company that is incorporated in Delaware but has operations in several states.

The company challenged Delaware's claim to almost $1.4 million in purported uncashed accounts payable and payroll checks.

Temple argues among other things that Delaware's practice of estimating unclaimed property liability for years in which actual records are not available amounts to an unlawful taking of property and violates constitutional provisions regarding due process.

Abandoned property is the third-largest single revenue source for the state, with collections in the current fiscal year expected to top $550 million.