Cy pres awards are residual funds arising from damages awarded in successful class action cases that, for any number of reasons, are unclaimed or cannot be distributed to all the class members or beneficiaries who were the intended recipients. Although Cy pres awards most often arise in class action cases, these funds also occasionally arise in other types of proceedings like bankruptcy and probate matters.
Trial judges in Illinois have the explicit authority to distribute any residual funds arising from damage awards to one or more eligible not-for-profit organizations that promote access to justice for low income Illinois residents.
Directing Residual Funds to the Legal Aid Society
The Chicago Bar Foundation has determined that the Legal Aid Society of Metropolitan Family Services is an eligible organization for the purpose of the statute. Since 1886, the Legal Aid Bureau has been active in the Chicago legal community in promoting access to justice by offering legal representation and assistance in domestic violence, family law, consumer and housing issues, elder abuse and financial exploitation.
For More Information
If you are interested in learning more about cy pres residual funds and how you can request that these funds be directed to the Legal Aid Society, please contact Kendra Reinshagen, Executive Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.