Kleinbard’s Litigation team, composed of Joshua Voss, Matthew Haverstick, Mark Seiberling, and Lorena Ahumada, helped the Pennsylvania Treasury obtain a landmark victory in the United States Supreme Court regarding the right to take custody of abandoned MoneyGram financial instruments.
Originally filed by Pennsylvania in February 2016, the dispute concerns abandoned “official checks,” a form of check payment issued by MoneyGram Payment Systems. Pennsylvania Treasury maintained that Delaware violated the priority rules under the Disposition of Abandoned Money Order and Traveler’s Checks Act by collecting funds from the abandoned checks. On February 28, 2023, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson authored a majority opinion for the Court affirming that the checks fall under the priority rules of the Act and the states where the checks were purchased have the right to take custody of the abandoned sums.
The next step in the case is for the special master appointed by the Supreme Court to determine exactly how much money is owed to Pennsylvania and other states by Delaware. It is estimated that Pennsylvania stands to recover approximately $19 million.
“I don’t think it will take nearly as long to decide penalties, as the years of Supreme Court litigation that ended with Tuesday’s decision,” said Joshua Voss in The Philadelphia Inquirer. He also explained that a pre-suit audit showed Delaware had received about $250 million from MoneyGram in recent years and since then, MoneyGram has paid an additional $92 million into an escrow account, pending final disposition of the case.
Additional media coverage featured in Law 360 and Tri-State Alert.