Georgia Superior Court Judge Douglas C. Pullen has "approved more than $33.8 million -- substantially more than any other judge in the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit -- in contributions to dozens of charities, universities and other organizations in Columbus and around the state." Pullen has been honored for his cy pres awards of other people's money by one of his beneficiaries (including a YouTube video), and has directed millions to his alma mater, which gave him an honorary degree and where he will teach a law course. I'm quoted as part of a Columbus Ledger-Enquirer investigation into the ethics investigation pending against Pullen.
Judge Pullen's actions seem remarkably similar to those of Judge Ward in the Google Buzz case.
One unaddressed aspect of the story: judges who know that a class action settlement will eventually give them lots of money to distribute to their favorite charities may be incentivized to make rulings that make a larger class action settlement possible, as well as to approve an unfair class action settlement. Defense attorneys need to take a stronger stand against abusive cy pres. Earlier.