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Cy pres in the appellate courts: In re Lupron and In re Baby Products

On Tuesday, the First Circuit issued a landmark decision on cy pres, In re Lupron Marketing. Though odd litigation decisions by the objectors led to affirmance in that case, the First Circuit (quoting CCAF's victory in Nachshin v. AOL) made clear that it had "unease" with cy pres, and set a precedent generally requiring compliance with §3.07 of the ALI Principles of the Law of Aggregate Litigation. [Legal Newsline; FindLaw]

Coincidentally, the same day, the Center for Class Action Fairness filed its opening brief relating to the yet-to-be-proposed multi-million-dollar cy pres distribution in In re Baby Products, asking the Third Circuit to adopt §3.07; the district court held that the class wasn't even entitled to an opportunity to object to the as-yet-to-be-proposed recipients. Baby Products presents the additional problem of the sort of settlement where class members were artificially deterred from making claims to expand the amount available for cy pres; indeed, under the district court's order, the class counsel will walk away with over $14 million of the $35.5 million fund, and the class millions of dollars less, likely less than half of what the attorneys got. (Note that under the Brian Fitzpatrick methodology, this would count as a "33.3%" fee award, though that percentage in reality is off by at least a factor of two, and no one in the world will ever know how much the class actually receives; and under the district court's procedure, the class counsel might well be doubly compensated if the cy pres goes to a charity related to the class counsel.)

(CCAF is not affiliated with the Manhattan Institute.)

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.