Cy Pres Awards

Cy pres is a doctrine that permits a court to award any unallocated, unclaimed, or undeliverable funds from a settlement of judgement to a nonprofit organization that would advance the interests of the class and people similarly situated. Public Justice strongly believes that cy pres awards are an invaluable way to honor and advance the interests of class members when complete dispersal of the award or settlement is not practicable. As a national nonprofit legal advocacy organization, Public Justice is eligible to be nominated for cy pres funds.

Public Justice is an excellent candidate for cy pres funding for a wide variety of cases. Our strategic advocacy, communications, and education efforts, paired with our wide-ranging case docket, advance the interests of class members or similarly situated people in many cases, and provide a collective, continuous service to the public interest.

Recommend Public Justice for a cy pres award

Click the button above to contact Kelly Simon, Senior Development Director, at ksimon@publicjustice.net or (202) 861-5253 to recommend Public Justice for a cy pres award or request help drafting related court documents.

Past cy pres stewardship

Upon request, we can provide detailed subject-specific information and declarations summarizing our cy pres stewardship to any counsel or court considering Public Justice as a cy pres recipient.

Public Justice has been chosen by federal and state courts throughout the country to receive and steward nearly 150 cy pres awards from cases involving issues such as:

  • Consumer protection: a wide range of privacy injuries, false advertising, deceptive product labeling, technology products, pharmaceutical products, financial products (such as credit cards and insurance), unfair fees, violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, and violations of the Electronic Funds Transfer Act
  • Investor and shareholder protection: securities fraud and deception relating to other investments (such as real estate)
  • Workers’ rights: employee protections, employee misclassification, age discrimination, unlawful hiring practices, violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, and inaccurate background checks
  • Antitrust: a range of competition injuries to individuals and small businesses
  • ERISA: breaches of fiduciary duties and other failure to pay benefits
  • Debt collection: violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, abusive practices by debt collectors, debt settlement firms, payday lenders and others, and robocalls and other forms of harassment 

How we use cy pres funds

Public Justice’s core strategic goal is to effect systemic change for social, economic, and environmental justice. We pursue cases not only on behalf of our clients, but to create powerful legal precedents that broaden access to justice for countless others. Cy pres funds support our fight to broaden access to justice for all.


Public Justice has successfully challenged more forced arbitration clauses than any other organization or law firm in the country. We have battled overly broad court secrecy that would prevent the public from knowing their rights have been violated. We have fought federal preemption defenses that would block consumers and others from pursuing legal action against the entities that harmed them. And we have aggressively litigated and advocated to preserve class actions.

Advocacy & Education

Public Justice collaborates with grassroots advocates, community organizations, and attorneys serving the public interest. Our team strategically advocates for access to justice at all levels to underscore the value of the civil justice system and bring awareness to civil rights violations.

Public Justice provides pro bono advice and legal research to scores of attorneys representing consumers, workers, and shareholders in individual and class action suits every year. We submit information to publications and clearinghouses and regularly present at educational seminars at programs relating to workers’ rights, consumer rights and class action law. 

We are regularly quoted in national media about access to justice issues and have written blog posts read by hundreds of thousands that expose roadblocks to justice. Public Justice staff have also testified to the U.S. Congress and state legislatures to build support for legislation and issues such as preserving class actions, eliminating court secrecy, and ending forced arbitration.

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