For some class action cases, judgment funds remain after all class members have received payment on their claims. The court can award the unclaimed remaining money as a Cy Pres Award to a charitable organization that reflects the intent of the lawsuit.
“Cy Pres” means “as close as possible” from the French “cy pres comme possible”. The Cy Pres doctrine can be traced back to 6th century Rome when it would be applied to an individual’s estate. If a charitable organization entitled to a portion of a person’s estate no longer existed, the funds from that estate would go to another charity ”as close as possible ‘ i.e., Cy Pres. In the mid 1980s, the California Supreme Court decided to allow and endorse the use of Cy Pres for class action lawsuits. The money would go to the next best (close as possible) group with interests similar to the original class members. The practice continues today with remaining settlement money awarded to charitable organizations with a mission aligned with the lawsuit’s issue(s).
Because of its focus on helping Floridians get the opportunity to present their case and obtain justice, the FJA Research and Education Foundation has received significant funding, awarded by the courts, through generous Cy Pres Awards.
FJA member attorneys are instrumental in helping promote the FJA Research and Education Foundation as a worthy recipient of a Cy Pres Award.