Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Breaking News: New Jersey Sued Over Unclaimed Property Legislation

According to the Bergen Record, American Express and the New Jersey Retail Merchants Association have separately filed lawsuits against the State of New Jersey seeking to invalidate parts of New Jersey's recently enacted changes to the state unclaimed property act.  As Escheatable covered earlier, New Jersey's unclaimed property changes reduced the dormancy period for traveler's checks from 15 years to 3 years and applied the terms of the unclaimed property act to gift cards for the first time (applying a 2 year dormancy period).

According to the Record, the Amex lawsuit challenges the reduction of the dormancy period for traveler's checks, while the NJ Retailers' Association lawsuit seeks to invalidate the law's requirement that gift card purchasers obtain the owners' name and address.  Both lawsuits challenge the New Jersey law on the grounds that the new law allegedly violates the Constitution's "due process" clause.  We will post additional information concerning the lawsuit after we review a copy of the complaint. 


  1. As far as I know, challenges to due process in the field of unclaimed property have never been successful. However, NJ's new law does conflict with the secondary escheat rule in that it says that unknown addresses are to be presumed to be in NJ.

  2. The only successful due process claim I can recall was AMEX's in Hollenbach, were the district court ruled that Kentucky's decision to shorten the dormancy period for travelers' checks was "arbitrary." In that case, the only justification Kentucky offered for the legislation was to generate revenue.