Cy Pres Awards

The Friends of the LA Law Library is a great option for your cy pres or settlement residual award funds. Please contact us via the link below to discuss any details regarding your unclaimed class action funds.
What are Cy Pres and Court Settlement Residual Awards?

Under cy pres, a court can approve a charitable donation out of unclaimed class action funds, or a direct grant in lieu of damages to an organization that could vindicate class member rights in the future. In practice, cy pres prevents a windfall to the defendant while serving to deter future violations.

The term cy pres comes from the French, “cy pres comme possible,” meaning “as near as possible,” and the doctrine is often applied in class action cases in which full restitution to all injured parties is either impossible or infeasible, such as when the amount of damage per person is insignificant even though the aggregate damages are large. It can also be employed in probate matters when gifts fail, or in the area of charitable trusts.

Residual fund awards from court settlements come about when parties in a case agree that as part of the settlement one party will make a specified dollar contribution to a specific charity and the court approves the settlement or any residual funds from a settlement be contributed to a specific charity.

Why is the Friends organization an appropriate recipient of Cy Pres?

Access to justice (ATJ) and civil legal aid and organizations are always appropriate recipients of cy pres or residual fund awards in class actions because no matter what the underlying issue is in the case, every class action is always about access to justice for a group of litigants who on their own would not realistically be able to obtain the protections of the justice system.

For example, in many consumer class action cases, the class of consumers is typical of the many underprivileged individuals who utilize the LA Law Library for access to justice and legal information, making the Friends of the LA County Law Library an appropriate choice as the beneficiary of the cy pres award.

While it is ultimately up to the courts to determine whether the cy pres award is fair and reasonable and if the recipient is appropriate for the award, both plaintiff and defense attorneys can play an important role in directing cy pres awards to the Friends of the LA County Law Library.

This fundamental principle is the basis for the growing number of states that have adopted rules or statutes and for hundreds of federal and state court cases throughout the country that have approved these awards to ATJ organizations. While there may be other appropriate recipients of a cy pres award depending on the basis of a particular class action, a cy pres award always can be justified for access to justice or legal aid based on this fundamental principle. We look forward to hearing from you regarding your specific class action matter.


If you have any questions or need additional information about cy press awards, please contact us and we will get back to you as soon as possible.