What is a Cy Pres Award?
The term "cy pres" (pronounced Sy-Pray) is a term in the law that refers to the next-closest thing.
Class action lawsuits often have funds left over once the distribution period has ended. These funds are the result of class members who could not be located, are incarcerated or have passed away. In some cases, class members may not have cashed or deposited a settlement check that arrives in the mail for fear that the check is a scam. In other cases, class members may have forgotten to deposit their check within the designated time period marked on the check.
When the class settlement distribution period ends and checks go uncashed, the remaining funds are considered for "cy pres".
The law, in some instances, directs where these uncashed or "residual funds" will go. For example, these funds may be designated to a state bar fund that supports legal programs for people who cannot afford a lawyer. In other instances, the funds can, with permission of the court, go to a legal aid organization, law school clinic, or other charity closely related to the goals of the class action lawsuit.
Flitter Milz as class counsel, has had cy pres funds approved for payment to legal aid societies, organizations that represent or counsel low income consumers, or ones that provide consumer credit education. The benefit of Cy Pres - "the next closest thing" , is that the leftover funds from the class action are distributed to organizations with the purpose to benefit consumers in a similar way to the lawsuit.