ANDERSON NAT'L BANK V. LUCKETT, 321 U. S. 233 (1944)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Anderson Nat'l Bank v. Luckett, 321 U.S. 233 (1944)

Anderson National Bank v. Luckett

No. 154

Argued February 2, 1944

Decided February 28, 1944

321 U.S. 233


A statute of Kentucky sets up a comprehensive scheme for the administration of abandoned bank deposits. Upon a report by the bank and notice to the depositor, and with an opportunity for either to be heard, the State takes into its protective custody bank accounts which, having been inactive for at least ten years if demand accounts or for at least twenty-five years if nondemand, the statute declares to be presumptively abandoned. The bank is relieved of its liability to the depositor, who receives instead a claim against the State, enforceable at any time until the deposit is judicially found to be abandoned and for five years thereafter. Refusal by the designated state officer to make payment is reviewable by the state courts. In an action by a national bank to enjoin the enforcement of the statute, held:

1. In requiring payment of the deposit accounts to the State on the prescribed notice, without recourse to judicial proceedings or any court order or judgment, the statute does not deprive the depositor or the bank of property without due process of law. Pp. 321 U. S. 240, 321 U. S. 247.

(a) Apart from questions which may arise under the national banking laws in the case of national banks, a State, by a procedure satisfying constitutional requirements, may compel surrender to it of deposit balances when there is substantial ground for belief that they have been abandoned or forgotten, especially where the State acquires them subject to all lawful demands of depositors. P. 321 U. S. 240.

(b) The statutory rebuttable presumption of abandonment of demand deposits after inactivity of ten years, and of nondemand deposits after inactivity of twenty-five years, is sustained. P. 321 U. S. 241.

(c) Subject to the requirements of procedural due process, the

Page 321 U. S. 234

depositors, prior to a judicial decree of actual abandonment, will not be deprived of their property by the surrender of their presumptively abandoned bank accounts into the custody of the State. P. 321 U. S. 241.

(d) The requirement that a depositor without actual notice of a proceeding for the judicial determination of abandonment must make claim within five years after the decree does not infringe constitutional rights. P. 321 U. S. 241.

(e) Notice to the depositors of the statutory proceedings, by the sheriff's posting on the courthouse door or bulletin board, for a period of six weeks, a copy of the bank's report of deposits presumed abandoned, in conjunction with the notice provided by the statute itself and by the taking of possession of the bank balances by the State, is sufficient notice to the depositors to satisfy the requirements of due process. P. 321 U. S. 243.

(f) The fundamental requirement of due process is an opportunity to be heard upon such notice and proceedings as are adequate to safeguard the right for which the constitutional protection is invoked. P. 321 U. S. 246.

(g) It is not an indispensable requirement of due process that every procedure affecting the ownership or disposition of property be exclusively by judicial proceeding. Statutory proceedings affecting property rights which, by later resort to the courts, secure to adverse parties an opportunity to be heard suitable to the occasion do not deny due process. P. 321 U. S. 246.

(h) The mere fact that the State or its authorities acquire possession or control of property as a preliminary step to the judicial determination of asserted rights in the property is not a denial of due process. P. 247.

2. The statute does not infringe the national banking laws, and does not unconstitutionally interfere with a national bank as an instrumentality of the federal government. Pp. 321 U. S. 247, 321 U. S. 252.

(a) The statute does not discriminate against national banks in directing payment to the State, pursuant to the statute, of presumptively abandoned accounts by state and national banks. P. 321 U. S. 247.

(b) The statute is not in conflict with any provision of the national banking laws. P. 321 U. S. 247.

Page 321 U. S. 235

(c) First National Bank v. California, 262 U. S. 366, distinguished. P. 321 U. S. 250.

3. As an appropriate incident to the exercise of its owner to require the surrender to it of presumptively abandoned accounts in national as well as state banks, the State may require the bank to file reports of inactive account. P. 321 U. S. 252.

294 Ky. 674, 172 S.W.2d 575, affirmed.

Appeal from the affirmance of a judgment which, upon a remand (293 Ky. 735, 170 S.W.2d 350), dismissed the bill in a suit to enjoin the enforcement of a state statute.

Page 321 U. S. 236

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