LITTLE ROCK, Ark – The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case October with Arkansas as one of the parties. The case, Arkansas v. Delaware, will provide over $650,000 to the state should the decision favor Arkansas’ position.
The case has been assigned an October 3 hearing date.
At issue is over $200 million in unclaimed funds from MoneyGram Payment Systems. Being a Delaware corporation, MoneyGram paid the total of its unclaimed funds to the state of Delaware. Arkansas, through Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, joined with California, Texas and Wisconsin in heading a 29-state coalition that the money should be shared between states.
MoneyGram is a service which permits money transfer. A customer sends money in the form of MoneyGram checks which are exchanged for cash by the recipient. If the recipient does not pick up the money sent to them, the amount is added to the company’s unclaimed funds.
In a statement from the Arkansas Attorney General’s office, in 2015 an independent auditor reviewed the unclaimed MoneyGram checks over $200 million were owed to other states and had been improperly paid to Delaware, $650,000 of which was owed to Arkansas.
In 2016 Arkansas joined with 29 other states in suing Delaware in the U.S. Supreme Court. The argument being that federal law by the Disposition of Abandoned Money Orders and Traveler’s Checks Act requires the money to be reimbursed to the states where the unclaimed checks were sold.
The Supreme Court may hear lawsuits between states without the case first being heard in a lower court.
The Supreme Court appointed Judge Pierre N. Level, of New York, as Special Master in this case.
As Special Master, Level will take the evidence and issue a report as to how the Supreme Court should rule in this case. Online records of the case show Level upholds the positions of the states for a more equitable distribution of the money based upon where the now-unclaimed funds were purchased.
The multi-state coalition is led by Arkansas, with a leadership group from California, Texas and Wisconsin. The other states in the coalition are Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming. Pennsylvania is also allied with Arkansas’s coalition but is represented by separate counsel.