- States vs. Uncle Sam: Federal Bonds as Unclaimed Property
- September 7, 2017 | Authors: Brendan Ballard; Wilson G. Barmeyer; Phillip E. Stano
- Law Firm: Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP - Washington Office
States are continuing to assert claims against the federal government over unredeemed federal savings bonds under their respective unclaimed property statutes. Billions of dollars are at stake, and nine states have brought lawsuits against the federal government in the US Court of Federal Claims to redeem bonds whose owners’ last known addresses are in their states. In an opinion issued in 2015 and two opinions issued on August 8, 2017, the Court of Federal Claims held that state unclaimed property statutes are not preempted by federal law and the federal government is required to recognize states’ ownership claims to the bonds based on state escheat judgments.In their article for Law360, Eversheds Sutherland attorneys Brendan Ballard, Wilson Barmeyer and Phillip Stano discuss that in addition to being a step toward a huge windfall for the states, these decisions are noteworthy because they potentially conflict with decisions of the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and the US District Court for the District of Columbia.