FIRM WINS INJUNCTION BEFORE THE THIRD CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS BARRING THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY AND GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE FROM ENFORCING CONFISCATORY AMENDMENTS TO STATE ESCHEAT LAWS.
In MEMO Money Order Company, Inc. v. Andrew P. Sidamon-Eristoff and the State of New Jersey. New Jersey U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit Docket No.: 10-4402. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals granted an injunction on November 19, 2010 enjoining the State of New Jersey from enforcing its recent Amendments to Chapter 25 of New Jersey’s recent Amendments to the Uniform Unclaimed Property Act, N.J.S.A. 46:3B-1, et seq. which retroactively modified the presumptive abandonment period for money orders from seven to three years. The Third Circuit action occurred after a lower Court decision by District Judge Wolfson who ruled that the State would not be permitted to force MEMO to escheat to the State fees already earned prior to the Chapter 25 Amendments to the Unclaimed Property Act. The District Court ruling, while welcomed by Merchants Express Money Order Company, Inc., fell short of enjoining the State from attempting to confiscate monies already paid to MEMO in prior years under the former laws. MEMO’s appeal contended that the District Court failed to take into account language on a State website which indicated that the State’s intent to retroactively confiscate such monies, and therefore an appeal from the District Court was filed before the Third Circuit which subsequently stayed enforcement to the Chapter 25 Amendments. During the pendency of the stay, the parties reached a settlement agreement which has been filed of record with the Court.