Sunday, November 22, 2009

Cy-Pres Doctrine

One of my legal heroes is Cleveland attorney Pat Perotti who has pioneered the use of Cy-Pres, an equity doctrine, in the area of charitable giving.

Perotti, a plaintiff's attorney is a highly successful class action attorney, was troubled that large class action settlements and verdicts would go back to "wrongdoer" corporations when persons entitled to class action money failed to file for it.  He and others borrowed the concept of Cy-Pres (pronounced sigh-pray) a doctrine that allows equity courts to do the "closest thing" to what someone who set up an estate, trust or fund of money would have wanted done with their money when the original conception or plan becomes impossible, no longer relevant, or illegal.

Now according to Perotti, corporations and insurance companies are fighting to keep the money they were ordered or agreed to pay for doing legal wrongs.  Perotti and his allies are asking States to enact legislation allowing them to use this money for charitable giving in local communities.  Sounds like a no-brainer.

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