Siemens USA Holdings Inc. v. Geisenberger, No. 20-2991 (3d Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
Delaware’s Unclaimed Property Law (UPL), Del. Code tit. 12 section 1101, allows the state to escheat certain types of unclaimed property held by businesses chartered in the state, if the particular business holding the property is not the owner of it, and if there has been no contact with the owner for a specified period of time. Delaware initiated an audit of Siemens, which is incorporated under Delaware law. After a near-decade-long audit process, Siemens sued the state, challenging the constitutionality of the audit and arguing that Delaware’s actions conflict with federal common law limiting the scope of any state’s escheatment authority.
The district court dismissed most of Siemens’s claims and denied its motion for a preliminary injunction on the sole surviving claim, which alleged a violation of procedural due process. The Third Circuit vacated. The district court erred in concluding that Siemens failed to show irreparable harm based on its procedural due process claim, and in dismissing Siemens’s federal preemption claim as unripe. In considering the audit, the district court paid insufficient heed to a holder’s payment obligations with respect to interest and penalties under the statute and the consequences of not meeting those obligations. The court affirmed the dismissal of Siemens’s expedited-audit procedural due process claim.