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Appeals court vacates decision in abandoned property suit

December 4, 2017

DOVER, Del. (AP) — A federal appeals court has breathed new life into a lawsuit by one of several companies that have challenged Delaware’s abandoned property seizures.

The court on Monday vacated a judge’s dismissal of a lawsuit filed by Ohio-based Marathon Petroleum Corp.

Marathon, which operates Speedway gas stations, invoked U.S. Supreme Court rulings involving states’ abandoned property collections when it challenged Delaware’s ability to conduct an audit involving unredeemed prepaid gift cards.

The judge dismissed the lawsuit, saying the rulings were intended to resolve disputes between states battling over priority to unclaimed abandoned property and could not be invoked by private entities.

The appeals court said Marathon’s lawsuit may not be ripe, but it rejected the notion that private parties cannot invoke federal common law to challenge a state’s abandoned property practices.

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