Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Taylor v. Westley (9th Cir. - March 29, 2005)

Judge Kleinfeld authors a fairly stinging -- and accurate -- indictment of California's unclaimed property laws in this case. On the merits, Judge Kleinfeld (rightfully) holds that the Eleventh Amendment does not bar most of the claims of this ostensible class action, which alleges that California incompetently and unconstitutionally escheats "unclaimed" property even when the owners of that property are easily located. They just want their own property back, which California is supposed to be holding in trust (at least for a while). Getting your own stuff back isn't a claim for damages barred by the Eleventh Amendment. Plus they're asking for prospective relief as well.

Coincidentally, this case came down a couple of days after I did my biannual "search for unclaimed property that belongs to your friends." I heartily recommend the practice. There were several thousands of dollars out there that belonged my colleagues on the USD faculty, plus many thousands more that belonged to friends. A charitable way to spend an afternoon. Here's the link to California's site.