The Cy Pres Doctrine: A Settling Concept

Following a class action or mass joiner settlement certain funds are often unable to be distributed to individual class members.  Either class members do not come forward to file the necessary proof of claim to qualify for an allocation and distribution, the allowed claims do not equal the available settlement funds, reserves or allocations for class costs and expenses are not exhausted, distributions of monies to individual class members have been found impracticable because the amounts owing to each individual plaintiff are exceedingly small and/or calculation of the amount due each individual would be excessively difficult and costly.  In such situations, many Louisiana state and federal courts have employed the “Cy Pres doctrine,” an equitable remedy intended to put the residual funds to a worthy purpose in accordance with their availability.

Read the entire article by Charles S. McCowan, Jr. and Calvin C. Fayard, Jr. from the December 2010/January 2011 edition of the Louisiana Bar Journal.