Cy Pres Awards

Cy Pres is a doctrine that permits a court to award any unallocated, unclaimed, or undeliverable funds from a class action settlement or judgment to a non-profit organization. As a nonprofit law firm, Inner City Law Center is eligible to receive nominations and awards for cy pres funding. These awards allow Inner City Law Center to continue fighting for justice for low-income tenants, working poor families, immigrants, people who are homeless or disabled, and veterans.

When some or all of the funds recovered in a class action cannot feasibly be distributed to class members, cy pres awards can be made to organizations like ICLC. In California or Federal court, a nonprofit organization is deemed an appropriate recipient of cy pres funding if distribution to the organization would “benefit the class or similarly situated persons.” Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 384(b). Because Inner City Law Center provides a broad range of service, almost every class is touched by our services. In addition, the California Legislature has indicated that nonprofit organizations such as Inner City Law Center that provide “civil legal services to the indigent” are always appropriate recipients of cy pres awards.

The substantive areas in which we work and that would be particularly appropriate for a cy pres award include:

  • Housing (predatory lending, home ownership, housing discrimination, access to public and subsidized housing, lead poisoning, homelessness, landlord/tenant relationships, access to affordable housing, etc.);
  • Access to the justice system for those who need its protection;
  • Discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS;
  • Consumer health and safety;
  • Consumer protection;
  • Civil rights and poverty law cases;
  • Legal problems related to mental illness or physical disabilities, including access to pharmaceuticals and other medical care;
  • Legal problems of veterans;
  • Legal problems of financially distressed families; and
  • Legal problems of immigrant workers.

If you have any questions or would like more information about our work or the cy pres process, please contact us. Staff at ICLC are well-versed in the cy pres process and will be happy to provide any support you need in making these requests. Thank you for your consideration.

For more information, please contact Director of Development Kym Pietsch at (213) 891-3203 or