More on the New Jersey Litigation – Money Order Issuers Join The Act

by admin

Regular readers of Escheatable have already heard plenty (perhaps too much) about New Jersey’s new unclaimed property legislation this summer and the resulting lawsuits.  As you may recall, New Jersey shortened the dormancy period for both travelers’ checks and money orders to 3 years (down from 15 years, and 7 years, respectively) and created a 2 year dormancy period for stored-value cards.  Thereafter, New Jersey was promptly sued by travlers’ check and gift card issuers to prevent the new law from going into effect.

Not to be outdone, at least one money order issuer is joining the fray.  On October 21, Memo Money Order Company, Inc. (“Memo”) — a Pennsylvania issuer of money orders — sued New Jersey in federal court seeking an injunction to prevent application of the new law (Case No. 3:10-cv-05460).  As have others, Memo alleges that the New Jersey law, and its retroactive application, violates Memo’s 14th Amendment due process rights, constitutes an unlawful taking of property, violates the federal and state Contract Clauses, and is invalid under the New Jersey Constitution.

The Memo lawsuit is on a slightly different track than the travelers’ check and gift card cases.  A decision on the latters’ request for a preliminary injunction is expected by mid-November and will likely go a long way toward deciding this case as well.