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Class Actions Litigation Products Liability

Increased Scrutiny for Cy Pres Provisions in Class Action Settlements

Despite the popularity of utilizing the cy pres doctrine and its benefits, courts are reviewing class-action settlement agreements that provide for cy pres payments with increased scrutiny.


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One of the critical issues addressed in a class action settlement is how the settlement funds are to be distributed. A popular method of doing this is to have a portion of the settlement fund made as a cy pres payment for the benefit of the class members. The term “cy pres” derives from the French expression “ cy pres comme possible,” meaning “as near as possible.” In the context of class actions, a cy pres distribution attempts to put settlement funds to their next-best use; for one of a number of reasons, it is difficult to distribute all settlement funds to individual class members.

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