Home Add to Favorite Contact Submit  
           24 January, 2020


    
Category:  Press » Legal

 

'Scrooge' Lawyers Say 'Bah, Humbug' to Charities, Saying Unclaimed Funds from Class Action Suits Should Go to the U.S. Government Instead of Charities

Popularity:
         Views: 1612
2008-12-17 06:04:11     
Dworken & Bernstein Co., L.P.A.

The headlines across America -- Cry for Food Overwhelms Charities, Nonprofits in a Faltering Economy, Charities Struggling with Their Own Needs -- say it all. Charities across the country are hurting, facing unprecedented demand while experiencing cuts in funding.

One American Lawyer, Patrick Perotti, a partner at the Cleveland law firm of Dworken & Bernstein Co., L.P.A., is giving the gift of hope and cash -- more than $18 million this year alone -- to struggling charities thanks to a legal doctrine known as cy pres.

Cy pres allows the court or the parties involved in a class action to direct any unclaimed funds to charity instead of returning them to the defendant. Because class actions take years to resolve, when it is time to give back the wrongfully taken monies, many class members cannot be found. Some have passed-away. Others have moved or remarried, or simply did not wish to participate. The result: unclaimed funds sitting in a bank.

"There are hundreds of millions of dollars going unclaimed every year in the United States," said Perotti, founder of Ohio Lawyers Give Back, an organization dedicated to raising awareness and use of cy pres. "This money can easily be directed to charities."

Unfortunately for charities, cy pres is not a standard course of action in the American legal system. First, it has proved difficult to get defendants to agree on using cy pres awards when the unclaimed money can be returned to themselves rather than directed toward charity. Second, most lawyers are unaware of the doctrine or just do not want the substantial additional work of reaching a cy pres agreement.

"There is no financial incentive for plaintiff lawyers who argue for cy pres," said Perotti. "But there are some of us who will not settle unless there is a provision for cy pres -- because that is just the right thing to do."

The alternative is giving hundreds of thousands of dollars or even millions back to a wrongdoing defendant. "It's wrong and it's unfair," said Perotti.

Perotti and his partners at Dworken & Bernstein insist on using the cy pres doctrine when settling all of its class action suits. That policy has led to the distribution of more than $18 million to dozens of charities in 2008.

America's current economic crisis has sent shockwaves through the nonprofit world. On December 11, 2008, The Chronicle of Philanthropy cited a new national survey on how the financial crisis is affecting charities. The article stated: "more than half of the charities in a new national survey say the country's economic woes have led to cuts in money." Meanwhile, the demand for services at these agencies continues to rise.

"Cy pres has been a lifeline for charities," said Nate Cross, Executive Director of Northeast Ohio Chapter of Cystic Fibrosis. "Dworken & Bernstein gave us a gift of $180,000 in early 2008. At first, I did not believe it. I thought it was a hoax."

It was no hoax. Dworken & Bernstein made history on July 18, 2008 awarding over 30 Ohio charities a pool of nearly $14 million through cy pres from a single lawsuit. The money has helped dozens of charities, including Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Coats for Kids, The Salvation Army and other local and national causes dedicated to serving the most vulnerable in our society.

"I cannot express my joy knowing that our efforts are having a life-changing impact on charities and the people they serve," said Perotti.

"But no good deed goes unpunished," said Cystic Fibrosis Director Nate Cross after reading an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal which viciously criticized cy pres and argued that it should be banned. Authored by lawyers from the firm, Blank Rome LLP, the opinion essay said that the leftover funds should go back to the defendant or to the government.

Standing with an 11-year-old who lives day-to-day because of treatments made possible by CF research dollars, Cross said: "Big business and huge defense law firms actually believe the class action settlement money should go back to the defendant or worse yet, to the government? Isn't that the same government who took $700 billion of our taxpayer money to save the life of banks? What's wrong with using the cy pres money to save a child's life?"

Perotti said the Wall Street Journal piece contributes to the negative perception of lawyers. He said: "Instead, let's do the right thing. Let's make cy pres the standard practice in class action settlements across the United States."

Patrick Perotti, an advocate of cy pres awards, versus lawyers and big business who oppose the use of cy pres: who do you suppose will win in the court of public opinion? Who will win the favor of Lady Justice, the personification of reason and fairness in the American legal system?

Specialized in: Cy Pres - Settlements - Cleveland - Painesville - Ohio
URL: http://www.ohiolawyersgiveback.org
Print press release      Bookmark this page
Related Press releases 
Leading Atlanta Law Firm gets a New Web Presence (Popularity: ): MENLO PARK, CA -- December 10, 2012 - Martenson, Hasbrouck & Simon LLP, a leading Atlanta, GA, based law firm recently launched their redesigned website with a new look web presence designed by Flying Cow Design. The law firm's new website is designed to address the changing legal needs and connect with a growing web-savvy audience. The law firm is among the leading law firms in Atlanta, GA, specializing in ...
Law Office of Brodsky & Smith, LLC Announces Investigation of IntegraMed America, Inc. (Popularity: ): BALA CYNWYD, Pa., June 11, 2012 -- Law office of Brodsky & Smith, LLC announces that it is investigating potential claims against the Board of Directors of IntegraMed America, Inc. ("IntegraMed" or the "Company") (Nasdaq: INMD) relating to the proposed acquisition by Sagard Capital Partners ("Sagard").Under the terms of the transaction, IntegraMed shareholders will receive $14.05 in cash for each share of IntegraMed stock they own. The investigation concerns possible ...
Avandia Lawsuit New Website Launched To Help Victims Who Want To File An Avandia Lawsuit (Popularity: ): February 5th, 2011 - A website called Avandia Lawsuits Help has just been launched to the public as a response for those who are seeking information and help in filing an their Avandia lawsuit because of the life threatening side effects, such as heart attacks, cardiovascular disesases, among others, that are brought by the use of the Type 2 Diabetes drug, Avandia.“Suffering from any of these conditions makes you more ...
Economy Driving People Out of the Housing Market, Says New FindLaw.com Survey (Popularity: ): Nearly two-thirds of Americans say the current economic situation is making them less likely to buy a house, according to a new national survey by FindLaw.com (http://www.findlaw.com), the most popular legal information website. Sixty-three percent of American adults say they are less likely to buy a house because of the current state of the economy. Despite record-low mortgage rates and an abundance of houses available on the market, only 8 ...
DNA Diagnostics Centre (DDC) opens their 4,000th worldwide DNA testing sample collection centre. (Popularity: ): DNA Diagnostics Centre (DDC) the leading international DNA testing laboratory is delighted to announce the opening of their 4,000th DNA sample collection centre that enables clients to visit a medical facility within their location to have their DNA samples collected by a medical professional. DNA Diagnostics Centre (DDC) have been established since 1995 and are based in Hammersmith, West London offering a broad range of DNA testing services for peace ...

Press release home snapshot 


Related Business 
Earth Share (Popularity: ): Manages workplace giving campaigns for its national environmental charities, just as the United Way raises funds for its health and human service charities. Provide news, resources and campaign information.
Raise Money For Charities With Rightbuy (Popularity: ): Rightbuy is an online shopping portal that has been set-up to help charities and good causes to raise funds. Sign-up and every time you shop through Rightbuy, you'll raise money for your selected charity whilst getting the best price on your purchase.
National Charities Information Bureau (Popularity: ): Provides ratings and reviews of charities based on their financial and management practices.
Charity Portal UK (Popularity: ): Searchable directory of UK charities. Charities listed by type, discussion forum and donation by click.
CharityWeb (Popularity: ): E-commerce site exclusively for charities. Provides customized, secure on-line donation, membership, event registration and shopping cart solutions to charities.
Central Minnesota Community Foundation (Popularity: ): Attracts donations and distributes funds to charities in a seven-county area. Information on their funds, priorities, criteria for grants, events, how to donate or request assistance.
Global Charities (Popularity: ): Charity begins at home and we must take initiatives for giving donations for global charities where we can help the destitute people. Visit TRT
Charities Online (Popularity: ): Dedicated to listing available online charities with free clickable donations. Including animal welfare, environmental issues, healthcare, famine relief and general humanitarian concerns.
Billy's Loons Charities (Popularity: ): Fans of Billy Boyd attempt raise donations for contributions to charities in Billy's name. Products are sold through an online shop and proceeds are donated to charity.
Community Health Charities (Popularity: ): National organization representing 61 of America's leading health charities providing patient services, community outreach and education.