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U.S. Supreme Court

Security Savings Bank v. California, 263 U.S. 282 (1923)

Security Savings Bank v. California

No. 21

Submitted October 3, 1923

Decided November 19, 1923

263 U.S. 282


1. Savings deposits, in a state banking corporation having its place of business within the its creation, are intangible property subject, like tangible property, to the dominion of the state. P. 263 U. S. 285.

2. A state law requiring a bank, through appropriate procedure, to pay over such deposits, when long unclaimed, to the state as depositary or by way of escheat, violates no right of the bank under the contract clause of the Constitution or the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, since the bank's contracts with the depositors merely give it the use of the money until called for by proper authority, and payment to the state in obedience to a valid law discharges its obligation to them. Id.

3. The two essentials of jurisdiction in a proceeding by the state to effect an escheat of such unclaimed deposits, in order that the depositors may be bound and the bank protected, are seizure of the res at the beginning of the suit and reasonable notice and opportunity to be heard accorded the depositors. P. 263 U. S. 287.

4. Under the California statutes here involved, seizure of the res is accomplished by personal service on the bank, in a suit brought by the Attorney General in Sacramento County, and due notice is given the depositors by publication in that county of a summons, with a notice also to all other persons to appear and show cause why the money should not be deposited with the State Treasurer. Id.

5. Proof by affidavit that personal service on depositors is impossible or impracticable is not a constitutional prerequisite to service by publication in such an escheat proceeding where the depositors impleaded are only those who are not known to the bank officials to be alive, whose accounts have not been added to or drawn chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 263 U. S. 283

upon for twenty years, and who have not filed with the bank, within that time, any notice or claim giving their then residences. P. 263 U. S. 288.

6. In view of other statutes requiring savings banks in California to publish at their several locations annual notices of deposits not added to or drawn upon during the preceding ten years, with the name, last known residence, and other particulars concerning the depositor, this Court cannot say that the escheat statute, in providing for publication of summons in escheat proceedings at Sacramento County only, was unreasonable. P. 263 U. S. 289.

186 Cal. 419 affirmed.

Error to a judgment of the Supreme Court of California affirming a judgment of escheat of bank deposits in suit of the state against the savings bank and the depositors.

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