Goldberg v. Frerichs, No. 18-2432 (7th Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
The Seventh Circuit previously concluded that people whose property is taken into custody by Illinois under its Disposition of Unclaimed Property Act, 765 ILCS 1026/15-607, are entitled to receive the time value of their property (interest or other earnings), less reasonable custodial fees. On remand the district court declined to certify a proposed class, ruling that owners are entitled to compensation for the time value of money only if the property was earning interest when the state took it into custody, which meant that the class had internal divisions that made certification inappropriate. The Seventh Circuit vacated. The Supreme Court has held that the Takings Clause protects the time value of money as much as it does money itself. What the property earns in the state’s hands does not depend on what it had been earning in the owner’s hands; cash has time value even if not invested. The Takings Clause does not set up a situation in which someone who wanted to be “in cash” bears the risk of loss as market conditions change without any prospect of offsetting gain. On remand, Illinois can argue that it does not owe interest on small amounts, such as the $100 at issue, because of administrative costs.