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Office Depot: Case Dismissed

On March 3, 2017 the U.S. District Court of Delaware dismissed an action brought by Office Depot in July 2016 in Office Depot Inc., et al. v. Thomas Cook et al1.  Office Depot had contended that Delaware’s unclaimed property law was preempted by federal law, citing the trilogy of US Supreme Court cases that established the jurisdictional priority rules. 

The Delaware court disagreed, finding that the federal cases were not applicable as they related to inter-state disputes and not to disputes between private parties and the state. The court reached the same conclusion as it had in Marathon Petroleum Corporation et al v. Cook, et al, 2 though that case is on appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.3

The lawsuit stems from an unclaimed property audit conducted by Kelmar Associates, acting as a third party auditor for the Delaware state escheator. The scope of the audit dated back to 1995 and the documents requested included unclaimed property reports for all states in which Office Depot had filed reports.

Office Depot had also argued the document request violated the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution which protects against unreasonable search and seizure.  In dismissing the case, the court did not address the issue of the audit process itself.

Keane will continue to monitor any future activities pertaining to this litigation and provide updates here on our blog and in Keanotes, our unclaimed property compliance journal.

Go from Office Depot: Case Dismissed back to the blog.


[1] Office Depot Inc., et al. v. Thomas Cook et al, case number 1:16-cv-00080, U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware.

[2] Marathon Petroleum Corporation et al v. Cook et al, case number 1:16-cv-00080, U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware.

[3] Marathon Petroleum Corp, et al v. Secretary of Finance Delaware, et al, case number 16-4011, U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit.


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