Federal Court Cases

Federal courts in Illinois and elsewhere in the country have long recognized that under the cy pres doctrine, courts can distribute cy pres or residual funds to appropriate charitable causes, and the CBF and the legal aid organizations and related initiatives the CBF supports are appropriate beneficiaries. See, e.g., Doyle, Residual Funds in Class Action Settlements: Using “Cy Pres” Awards to Promote Access to Justice, Federal Lawyer, July 2010; Superior Beverage Co. v Owens-Illinois, Inc., 827 F. Supp. 477 (N.D. Ill. 1993) (approving distribution of unclaimed funds to a variety of charitable organizations); In re Scouring Pads Antitrust Litigation, No. 93 C 6594, 1995 WL 290242, at *1 (N.D. Ill., May 11, 1995); In re Xpedior Inc., 2006 WL 3017330 (Bkrtcy. N.D. Ill., Oct. 23, 2006).

Among the federal court projects that cy pres awards have made possible and continue to support through the CBF are the District Court Pro Se Program and the Bankruptcy Court Help Desk. These awards also help make it possible for the CBF to provide steady support for the major pro bono and legal aid organizations that serve clients in federal court; support an innovative project through which pro bono attorneys represent pro se litigants in settlement conferences in federal cases; and support the development of helpful educational resources for the public that are available in print and online at www.IllinoisLegalAid.org.

More information on the CBF and cy pres awards

Sample language that can be used for settlements of class actions

For questions or additional information, contact CBF Executive Director Bob Glaves at bglaves@chicagobarfoundation.org or 312.554.1205.