Minnesota Sued Over Unclaimed Property Program

Photo by smokedsalmon on FreeDigitalPhotos.netIn the past ten years, Minnesota's unclaimed property fund has more than doubled, as the state has increased enforcement actions and more companies are reporting. The state is now finding that with more money comes more problems. Last week, a lawsuit was filed challenging whether the unclaimed property program violates due process clauses of the U.S. and Minnesota constitutions. The lawsuit seeks class action status. The crux of the lawsuit is whether the state is doing enough to notify owners and attempting to reunite property with its owner.

Minnesota is currently one of 41 U.S. states (plus DC and Puerto Rico) that participate in MissingMoney.com, which allows individuals and companies to search across multiple states' databases at once. Minnesota provides monthly updates to Missing Money for new properties added to its database.

In March, Minnesota bill HF 1693 was introduced that would require the state to undertake additional notification efforts. The bill would require at least two full-time equivalent employees to be dedicated to returning abandoned property to owners, provide for posting of names on the state's website and in local newspapers, as well as providing names to local legislators so that the legislators can contact citizens within their jurisdictions.

California has gone through a similar challenge to its unclaimed property program that resulted in not only a temporary shut-down of the program but a unique two-step reporting process.

The Minnesota case is Timothy Hall, Jr. v. State of Minnesota, case number 62-CV-15-2112.

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