According to the Oct. 31 Nashville Tennesseean, plaintiff's lawyers settling an antitrust class action over alleged price-fixing of neoprene, a synthetic rubber, elected to drop a tidy $2.9 million windfall onto the grateful Vanderbilt University Law School, their alma mater, for purposes of a "new civil litigation and dispute resolution program". A judge made the money available on a cy pres basis because it was difficult to identify consumer beneficiaries entitled to join in the settlement. One of the lawyers responsible for the arrangement, Dewey Branstetter, is a potential candidate for mayor of Nashville in 2007.
It appears from the coverage that the consumer class being represented was nationwide. And yet: "Giving Vanderbilt the money was appropriate, law professor Richard Nagareda said, given that the case started in Nashville and the law school trains students to negotiate similar settlements." Not only that: "Frankly, we had a good ongoing relationship with these lawyers," Nagareda said. If not before, then they sure do now. (More: VULS press release). Oh, well, at least they haven't renamed the whole darn school after their benefactors yet. More on litigation slush funds here, here and here.