of Appeals Office of Appellate Courts
E. Gustafson, Daniel C. Hedlund, Joseph C. Bourne, Gustafson
Gluek PLLC, Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Vildan A. Teske,
Marisa C. Katz, Teske, Micko, Katz, Kizter, & Rochel,
PLLP, Minneapolis, Minnesota; and J. Gordon Rudd, Jr., David
Cialkowski, Zimmerman Reed, PLLP, Minneapolis, Minnesota; and
Patrick W. Michenfelder, Throndset Michenfelder, LLC, Saint
Michael, Minnesota; and Garret D. Blanchfield, Brant D.
Penney, Reinhardt, Wendorf & Blanchfield, Saint Paul,
Minnesota, for appellants.
Swanson, Attorney General, Sarah L. Krans, Angela Behrens,
Assistant Attorneys General, Saint Paul, Minnesota, for
Murray, Friedman Iverson, Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Daniel
M. Eaton, Christensen Law Office PLLC, Minneapolis,
Minnesota, for amicus curiae National Association of Consumer
Nepveu, AARP Foundation Litigation, Washington, D.C.; and 2
Janet C. Evans, Neil S. Goldsmith, Gray, Plant, Mooty, Mooty
& Bennett, P.A., Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Mahesha P.
Subbaraman, Subbaraman PLLC, Minneapolis, Minnesota, for
amici curiae AARP and AARP Foundation.
Bona, Aaron R. Gott, Bona Law PC, La Jolla, California; and
Luke A. Wake, NFIB Small Business Legal Center, Sacramento,
California, for amicus curiae National Federation of
Independent Business, Small Business Legal Center.
unclaimed property transferred to the State under the
Minnesota Unclaimed Property Act, Minn. Stat. §§
345.31-.60 (2016) ("the Act") is interest bearing,
the State effects a taking under the Minnesota and United
States Constitutions if the State does not compensate the
property owner for the lost interest.
Because the notice provided by and under the Act to owners of
interest-bearing property valued over $100 is sufficient to
inform those property owners that their unclaimed property is
subject to transfer to the State and of steps to take to
avoid the transfer, the Act comports with due process under
the Minnesota and United States Constitutions.
in part, reversed in part, and remanded.
GILDEA, Chief Justice.
case involves the constitutionality of the Minnesota
Unclaimed Property Act, Minn. Stat. §§ 345.31-.60
(2016). The Act provides that unclaimed property is presumed
abandoned and remitted to and held by the State in its
general fund until the owners seek to reclaim the property.
Id. Appellants allege that their unclaimed property
was transferred to the Commissioner of Commerce and held by
the State under the Act, and they contend that the
State's failure to pay interest accrued on the property
while it was in the State's custody violates the Takings
Clauses of the Fifth Amendment to the United States
Constitution, as applied to the states through the Fourteenth
Amendment, and the Minnesota Constitution. U.S. Const.
amends. V, XIV, § 1; Minn. Const. art. I, § 13.
They also assert that the State fails to provide adequate
notice to property owners that it takes custody of their
presumably abandoned property, in violation of the Due
Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United
States Constitution and the Minnesota Constitution. U.S.
Const. amend. XIV, § 1; Minn. Const. art. I, § 13.
Commissioner of Commerce Michael Rothman and the State, moved
to dismiss the complaint. The district court denied that
motion, but the court certified the Takings and Due Process
Clause questions to the court of appeals pursuant to Minn. R.
Civ. App. P. 103.03(i). The court of appeals reviewed the
certified questions and rejected the constitutional
challenges to the Act. Because we conclude that owners of
interest-bearing bank accounts-but not the owners of the
other property at issue in this case- have a constitutionally
protected property right that is taken when the State does
not compensate the owners for the lost interest, and that the
notice provided under the Act to owners of such property
valued over $100 is sufficient to satisfy the requirements of
due process, we affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand
to the district court for further proceedings.
are four property owners whose property was presumed
abandoned under the Act and transferred to the State.
Appellant Timothy Hall, Jr. was issued a final paycheck in an
amount under $100 from his employer in 2011. Sometime in
2015, Hall learned that the funds from this check had been
transferred to the State under the Act. It is unclear whether
Hall has sought the return of his property.
2015, appellant Michael Undlin learned from his attorneys
that the State was holding property payable to him, worth
over $100 in value. The previous holders remitted the
property to the State under the Act. The complaint states
that Undlin has begun the process for the return of the
Beverly Herron learned from her daughter, who had searched
for Herron's name on MissingMoney.com, that the State was
holding insurance proceeds in the amount of $236.57 in
Herron's name. Herron submitted a claim for the return of
her property and received a check for the value of the
appellant Mary Wingfield had an interest-bearing account. In
2014, she received a letter from the bank asking her to
contact it regarding the account, but she did not do so. The
bank later remitted the balance of Wingfield's account to
the State. After she filed a claim for the return of her
property, the State sent Wingfield a check for the principal
amount, which was in excess of $100, 000. But the State did
not include the value of the interest that would have accrued
had the money remained in Wingfield's account during the
time that the State held the money.
allege, individually and on behalf of a class of all owners
of property that has been remitted to the State under the
Act, that they did not receive sufficient notice-either from
the original holder of their property or from the State-that
their property had been remitted to the State. The complaint
further alleges that the notice deficiency violates
appellants' and the class members' procedural due
process rights. Finally, the complaint asserts that the Act
effects an unconstitutional taking because claimants do not
receive earnings or constructive interest on the unclaimed
property after it is delivered to the State.
moved to dismiss under Minn. R. Civ. P. 12.02(a), (e), for
lack of subject-matter jurisdiction and failure to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted. The district court
denied the motion to dismiss the due process and
unconstitutional taking claims. The court determined that
appellants sufficiently alleged a due process claim because
they asserted that the notice provided under the Act is not
reasonably certain to inform those affected that their
property is being remitted to the State. The court determined
that appellants also sufficiently alleged a takings claim
because respondents took appellants' property and put it
in a fund for public use, for which appellants are entitled
to just compensation.
then made a motion, which the district court granted in part,
to certify the constitutional questions to the court of
appeals as important and doubtful. See Minn. R. Civ.
App. P. 103.03(i). The court of appeals answered the
certified questions. Hall v. State, 890
N.W.2d 728, 731 (Minn.App. 2017). Regarding the takings
question, the court determined that no taking occurs when the
Act specifies the disposition of unclaimed property.
Id. at 735-36. With respect to the due process issue,
the court determined that no process was due under the Act
because it does not deprive unclaimed property owners of a
protected property interest. Id. at
In the alternative, the court determined that, even if the
Act does deprive property owners of a protected interest, the
notice required under the statute is sufficient. Id.
at 738. We granted appellants' petition for review.
challenge the constitutionality of the Act. We review the
constitutionality of a statute de novo. State v.
Hensel, 901 N.W.2d 166, 170 (Minn. 2017); Schatz v.
Interfaith Care Ctr., 811 N.W.2d 643, 653 (Minn. 2012).
In addition, the issues that appellants specifically raise
came to the court of appeals as certified questions and
therefore these issues present questions of law that we
review de novo. See Siewert v. N. States Power Co.,
793 N.W.2d 272, 277 (Minn. 2011); Hoffman v. N. States
Power Co., 764 N.W.2d 34, 42 (Minn. 2009); Watson ex
rel. Hanson v. Metro. Transit Comm'n, 553 N.W.2d
406, 411 (Minn. 1996).
begin our analysis with a discussion of the Act. It covers a
wide range of property, including bank accounts, unclaimed
insurance proceeds, and unclaimed wages. See Minn.
Stat. §§ 345.32-.39 (identifying types of property
covered by the Act). The Act provides that property is
"presumed abandoned" if the property owner does not
take action regarding the property for a set period of time,
the length of which varies depending on the type of property
at issue. Id. For example, if the owner of a bank
account does not take any action relating to her account for
3 years (e.g., withdraw, deposit, or communicate with the
bank in writing about the account, or receive regular
statements by mail), the balance of the account
"together with any interest or dividend thereon" is
presumed abandoned. Minn. Stat. § 345.32(a). Likewise,
funds held by a "life insurance corporation" that
are "unclaimed and unpaid for more than three years
after the moneys became due and payable" are presumed
abandoned. Minn. Stat. § 345.33(a)-(b). And wages owing
in the ordinary course of business that an owner fails to
claim for more than 1 year are presumed abandoned. Minn.
Stat. § 345.39, subd. 3.
holder of property (e.g., a bank) that is presumed abandoned
must submit an annual report to the Commissioner describing
the property, including the property owner's name and
last known address. Minn. Stat. § 345.41(a)-(b). At the
time of the annual report, the holder "shall pay or
deliver" to the Commissioner, the unclaimed property
including "all interest, dividends, increments, and
accretions due, payable, or distributable on the property on
November 1, or October 1 for a life insurance company."
Minn. Stat. § 345.43, subd. 2a. Holders of presumptively
abandoned property who fail to follow the requirements of the
Act are subject to criminal penalties. Minn. Stat. §
unclaimed property is delivered to the Commissioner, the Act
requires that the holder of the property provide notice to
the owner advising that the holder is in possession of the
property and of the necessary steps to "prevent
abandonment." Minn. Stat. § 345.41(e). The holder
is required to provide this notice when it has the property
owner's address, the owner's claim ...