In an unexpected twist, lawyers from Dworken & Bernstein law firm insisted that any unclaimed funds in a settlement with Wells Fargo and CitiFinancial from a class action case regarding unreleased mortgage liens be turned over to charities instead of being returned to the defendants.
Due to this “cypres” legal doctrine, 20 Ohio charities will be able to continue their work with new funding. The charities that benefited from this donation included Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Cleveland, Project Love, The E Prep School, The Arc, Society for Rehabilitation, Malachi House, Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, University Hospitals, The Gathering Place, Cornerstone of Hope, Antioch Community Development, Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine, and Gordon Square Arts District.
Many class action suits end up with unclaimed funds, and this doctrine can be applied to all of them, but often the unclaimed funds just go back to the defendants. Since they are being asked to give up the funds to rectify a wrong, it makes more sense for the unclaimed funds to go out into the community to help those in need of a hand up. Class action suits are brought to “fight city hall” so to speak, and it is not often enough that the little guy manages to win against the big corporation. Certainly we see evidence all of the time of when the big guy wins.
Corruption is rampant when no one is watching, and unfortunately class action suits are the only way to get our own back. Certainly the people that are affected by the injustice committed by the defendants would prefer that the unclaimed money go to the community instead of back to the defendant.
We can think of it as just a little more justice.