Attorneys and judges handling class action cases can help promote justice for all residents of Illinois by recommending the Illinois Bar Foundation as a recipient for a cy pres award. Because of the Illinois Bar Foundation’s work in providing access to justice to vulnerable populations, cy pres distributions to the Illinois Bar Foundation have long been accepted as the next best use of such unclaimed funds.
In class action lawsuits, if damages are awarded to class members, a fund is created. After class members’ claims are paid, a residual amount often remains. Under the doctrine of cy pres, judges and counsel can then recommend that these residual funds be distributed to the “next best” use.
The cy pres doctrine has evolved into a flexible tool that allows a court to use its authority to make funds available to public interest, charitable, educational and other public service organizations.
While it is ultimately up to the courts to determine whether a cy pres award is appropriate, attorneys for the plaintiff and defense can each play an important role in directing cy pres awards to the Illinois Bar Foundation.
Law Office of Jamie Golden Sypulski
Schad, Diamond & Shedden, P.C.