Posts Tagged ‘cy pres’

Consumer Action responds

Consumer Action, the San Francisco-based nonprofit advocacy and education group, takes issue with our August 1 post on its receipt of cy pres awards from class action settlements. You can read the letter from Linda Sherry, its DC office director, here, along with the original post, which we have edited in response to the objections.

“Consumer Action,” chez Sturdevant

A San Francisco nonprofit named Consumer Action is in the habit of pocketing cy pres moneys — leftover funds that are supposed to go “as nearly as possible” to class relief — from class actions against credit card companies and other mass marketers. Does Consumer Action have any connections to lawyers who file class action suits, and if so, are those connections significant? [Ted Frank, Point of Law] (Bad link fixed now; text edited August 5 per discussion below.)

[A Consumer Action executive has been in touch to take issue with this post, pointing out, among other things, that the two personages mentioned in the Point of Law post are no longer married to each other, and arguing that the group’s work is independent of class action lawyers. I have reworded the post to reflect these concerns.]

August 6 update: Letter from Consumer Action’s Linda Sherry follows, continued after jump:

Dear Mr. Olson,

I am writing to you to clarify certain points made in your recent blog post, “Consumer Action, chez Sturdevant” ( based on a post by (
Patricia Sturdevant, currently the president of Consumer Action’s Board of Directors, is employed as Deputy Commissioner for Policy and Planning at California Department of Insurance. She has been divorced from attorney James Sturdevant since 1996. Mr. Sturdevant’s firm has no formal connection to Consumer Action, however we admire of Mr. Sturdevant’s track record as a consumer attorney and consider him one of many valued supporters. These supporters also include corporations, foundations, public interest groups and individuals.

Read On…

Cy pres: Ninth Circuit tosses breakfast deal

A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit led by Judge Stephen Trott has rejected a settlement between class action lawyers and Kellogg over allegedly misleading promotion of its Frosted Mini-Wheats cereal. The settlement involved a smallish refund offer for the class of consumers, an unrelated food giveaway (so-called cy pres relief, given to beneficiaries other than the class initially wronged), and $2 million to the plaintiff’s lawyers, or roughly $2,100 an hour. [Hans von Spakowsky/PJ Media, Ted Frank/PoL, ABA Journal]

November 23 roundup

  • Big win for Ted Frank against cy pres slush funds [CCAF, Fisher, Zywicki, CL&P, @tedfrank (“Ninth Circuit rules in my favor … but I still think I’m right”.)]
  • “Can the Vatican Be Subject to ICC Prosecution?” [Ku/OJ]
  • “Tennessee: ATS Sues City Over Right Turn Ticket Money” [The Newspaper]
  • “Law firms dominating campaign contributions to Obama” [WaPo]
  • Does that mean it’s an entitlement? Punitive damage limits face constitutional challenges in Arkansas, Missouri [Cal Punitives]
  • Businessman sues to silence critical blogger, case is dismissed, now files suit #2 [Scott Greenfield]
  • Going Hollywood? “The Supreme Court should move to Los Angeles” [Conor Friedersdorf]

Update roundup

Further on stories we’ve noted in the past:

October 13 roundup

  • Behind the antitrust assault on Google [Jerry Brito, Josh Wright, more]
  • Rapid rise of lawsuit lenders [WSJ] And a Searle Civil Justice Institute conference on third party financing of litigation;
  • More law firms muscle into class action against e-book publishers [PaidContent] Fifth Circuit questions cy pres [Trask] And a new edition of the Federalist Society’s Class Action Watch is out;
  • When the house painters announce they’re not leaving: “Britain plans to tighten anti-squatter laws” [NYT]
  • “Courts Call Out Copyright Trolls’ Coercive Business Model, Threaten Sanctions” [EFF] “Righthaven’s Copyright Trolling is a Bankrupt Idea” [Cit Media Law] More: Vegas Inc.
  • “Twombly is the Logical Extension of the Mathews v. Eldridge Test to Discovery” [Andrew Blair-Stanek via Volokh, Frank] “Four more reasons to love TwIqbal” [Beck] “O’Scannlain says 9th Circ has adopted ‘Iqbal lite’ pleading standard, ‘Same insufficient complaints, fewer dismissals!'” [@ScottKGraham on dissent in Starr v. County of Los Angeles, PDF]
  • Florida farms sell raw milk as (wink) “pet food” [Sun-Sentinel]

September 19 roundup

  • Educator: please don’t bring lawyers to parent-teacher meetings [Ron Clark, CNN] Steve Brill: what I found when I investigated NYC teacher “rubber rooms” [Reuters] “The Six Dumbest Things Schools Are Doing in the Name of Safety” [Cracked] School waterfall liability [Lincoln, Neb. Journal-Star]
  • As predicted: “Dodd-Frank Paperwork a Bonanza for Consultants and Lawyers” [NYT]
  • “Running out of common drugs” [Josh Bloom, NY Post] Pharmaceutical shortages: the role of Medicare price controls [Richard Epstein, Hoover; earlier here, here, etc.]
  • DoT insists on exposing private flight plans online. Yoo-hoo, privacy advocates? [Steve Chapman]
  • New class action law in Mexico includes loser-pays provision [WSJ]
  • Newt Gingrich candidacy revives memories of his 1995 call for death penalty (with “mass executions”) for drug smuggling [NYT archive via Josh Barro; see also @timothy_watson “Sounds kinda like Shariah Law to me.”)
  • “Cy pres slush fund in Georgia under ethics investigation” [PoL]

Attorney general slush funds, cont’d

It’s surprising there isn’t more controversy over state AGs’ frequent practice of using moneys from lawsuit settlements for their own favored causes (as opposed to, say, handing it over to the state treasury). Now Arkansas AG Dustin McDaniel is drawing criticism for his funneling of cy pres funds to politically advantageous causes that don’t happen to have been voted appropriations by the state legislature [John Brummett, Arkansas News; Dan Greenberg, The Arkansas Project, and followup]

P.S. Related on cy pres in private class actions: Dan Popeo, WLF (Google Buzz settlement); Michael Tremoglie, LNL; Ted Frank.