Cy Pres Awards

To recommend Public Justice for a cy pres award, please contact Development Director Kelly Simon at (202) 861-5253 or ksimon@publicjustice.net.

Public Justice strongly believes that cy pres awards are an invaluable way to honor and advance the interests of class members when complete disbursal of the award or settlement is not practicable. Through cy pres awards, the interests of plaintiffs can be indirectly but very significantly advanced. Since 2010, we have successfully stewarded 142 unique cy pres awards from federal and state courts throughout the U.S. in class actions advancing consumer protection, workers’ rights, investor’s rights, the rights of individuals and small businesses to be free of competition injury, and other similar causes. In all of these cases, we have ensured that the funds were used to advance the interests of the plaintiff class and the purposes of the case.

Types of Cy Pres Awards Public Justice Has Received:

Because of our diverse advocacy and docket, courts have held that Public Justice was an appropriate cy pres recipient and designated us to receive cy pres awards from cases involving many issue areas, including:

  • Consumer protection: Including cases involving 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: Including cases involving securities fraud and deception relating to other investments (such as real estate).
  • Workers’ rights: Including cases involving employee protections, employee misclassification, age discrimination, unlawful hiring practices, violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, and inaccurate background checks.
  • Antitrust: Cases involving a range of competition injuries to individuals and small businesses.
  • ERISA: Cases involving breaches of fiduciary duties and other failure to pay benefits.
  • Debt collection: Including cases involving violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, abusive practices by payday lenders, and robocalls and other forms of harassment.

How We Use Cy Pres Awards:

We welcome the opportunity to provide detailed subject-specific information to any counsel or court considering Public Justice as a potential cy pres recipient, explaining in detail why we are an appropriate recipient of cy pres funds based on the advocacy and litigation delineated above.

The core of our strategy is impact litigation aimed at creating systemic change. For example, we have often won important legal precedents that not only obtained justice for our clients but also allowed countless others to seek and win justice. We have put cy pres funds to work in support of the ability of plaintiffs to bring class action suits in appropriate cases.

Generally, Public Justice has fought against many barriers to access to justice. Public Justice has done more than any other organization or law firm in the country to fight against abuses of forced arbitration that would otherwise have made it impossible for many persons to have their legal rights vindicated. We have a long history of battling abuses of overly broad court secrecy that would otherwise prevent the public from knowing that their rights have been violated. Public Justice has fought against overly broad federal preemption defenses that would block many consumers and others from vindicating their rights under state laws.

In addition, we use a multi-tactic approach that includes grassroots and direct advocacy, administrative advocacy, and education. For example, we regularly respond to  requests for advice and legal research from attorneys representing consumers, workers, and shareholders in class action suits involving access to justice issues, providing pro bono advice and model briefs and legal research to hundreds of people each year. We also provide information to other attorneys and advocates through publications and submissions to information clearinghouses, and our expert attorneys frequently participate in educational seminars including at national consumer rights and class action conferences.

Furthermore, we engage in public debates over access to the courts to underscore the value of the civil justice system, help people stand up for their rights, and serve as a resource for attorneys handling public interest issues. We have written blog posts on access to justice rights issues that have been read by hundreds of thousands of persons over the last several years, and we are regularly quoted in national media on these issues. We also advocate before and seek to educate decision-makers about the importance of preserving access to justice.

Contact for Cy Pres Awards:

If you believe Public Justice would be an appropriate recipient for a cy pres award, please contact Development Director Kelly Simon at (202) 861-5253 or ksimon@publicjustice.net. We are able to help with drafting court-related documents and can provide declarations summarizing our experience with stewarding cy pres awards and our work.

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