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Supporting the National Cybersecurity Alliance with Cy Pres Awards

A Win for Digital Privacy and Security

The National Cybersecurity Alliance (NCA) gratefully accepts cy pres awards from unclaimed settlement funds resulting from class action lawsuits. These awards significantly contribute to our mission of fostering a safer digital world.

What are Cy Pres Awards? 

In the aftermath of a class action lawsuit settlement, it’s common that not all of the funds will be claimed by class members. This is where cy pres awards step in. These are funds that, for various reasons, are unclaimed or cannot be distributed to the intended recipients. Once it’s determined that the funds cannot be distributed as originally intended, the court and the parties involved have to decide how to utilize those funds. 

The Cy Pres Award in Practice 

Originating from the French phrase “cy pres comme possible,” meaning “as near as possible,” cy pres doctrine aims to distribute unclaimed or residual funds from class action lawsuits to alternative beneficiaries or charitable causes. The cy pres award plays a vital role in ensuring that the intended objectives of such cases are fulfilled, even in situations where direct restitution may not be feasible. 

A recent real-world example is when over $150,000 in cy pres funds were awarded to John Marshall Law School’s Pro Bono Litigation Clinic in Chicago in 2018. The funds came from a class action case involving a group of workers who made a claim under the Illinois Wage Act. The class of workers were represented by graduates of John Marshall.  

Controversies and legal challenges 

While the cy pres doctrine seeks to resolve practical challenges in class action lawsuits, it is not immune to criticism. One concern revolves around the potential for abuse or misallocation of funds. Skeptics argue that without proper oversight and accountability, cy pres awardees, rather than a fair and objective process. These controversies highlight the need for clear guidelines and stringent checks to ensure that the cy pres doctrine serves its intended purpose of achieving justice and fairness. 

Over the years, the cy pres doctrine has faced legal challenges that have shaped its application. One crucial issue centers on the question of standing, with critics arguing that cy pres beneficiaries may lack the necessary legal standing to receive the funds. Courts have grappled with determining which organizations or causes qualify as appropriate alternatives when direct compensation is not possible, leading to varying interpretations and decisions across jurisdictions. Striking a balance between the need for efficient resolution and ensuring fair and adequate compensation has been a recurring challenge for courts. As a result, the cy pres doctrine continues to be refined and subject to ongoing legal scrutiny, with each decision contributing to the evolving landscape of this complex legal doctrine. 

The Role of Lawyers in Cy Pres Awards 

Lawyers play a crucial role in navigating cases that involve cy pres awards, ensuring that the interests of their clients and the class members are represented effectively. They are responsible for identifying potential cy pres beneficiaries that align with the underlying objectives of the litigation. This involves conducting thorough research, assessing the impact of the case, and exploring organizations or causes that can benefit from the unclaimed funds. Lawyers also negotiate with opposing parties to reach agreements on the cy pres allocation, considering the preferences of their clients and the best interests of the class. Additionally, lawyers advocate for transparency and accountability in the selection and distribution of cy pres awards, ensuring that the funds are appropriately channeled to advance the intended goals of the litigation. 

Successfully handling a case involving a cy pres award requires lawyers to possess a unique set of skills and knowledge. Firstly, they must have a deep understanding of class action litigation procedures, including the intricacies of settlement negotiations and the distribution of funds. Strong research and analytical skills are essential to identify potential cy pres beneficiaries that closely align with the objectives of the case. Lawyers must also have a comprehensive understanding of relevant legal precedents and the evolving landscape of the cy pres doctrine. Additionally, effective communication and negotiation skills are vital for engaging with opposing parties, class members, and the court, advocating for the most favorable cy pres allocation. Finally, lawyers need to be well-versed in the ethical considerations surrounding the distribution of unclaimed funds, ensuring that the cy pres awards are allocated in a fair and transparent way. 

Why choose the National Cybersecurity Alliance? 

Established in 2001, the NCA has been instrumental in offering practical digital privacy and security advice to the American public. With a strong network of private and federal partners, we serve as an influential hub for awareness and education, empowering individuals and organizations at home, work, and school. 

Our commitment to promoting a culture of privacy and security equips digital citizens with the necessary knowledge to safeguard themselves, their organizations, and their families. With initiatives like Data Privacy Week and Cybersecurity Awareness Month, our reach extends to millions of people annually. 

In today’s digital world, the importance of security and privacy cannot be overstated. A consolidated approach to security and privacy guidelines can help organizations strengthen their foundational security and privacy programs, promote collaboration among security and privacy professionals, and provide an appropriate level of protection. 

The NCA is a prime candidate for cy pres funding across a diverse range of cases. Our efforts actively advance the interests of class members and those similarly affected by various security and privacy issues. We deliver a revered public service aimed at maintaining the online safety of individuals and small- to medium-sized businesses. Our primary goal is to provide practical, actionable advice and answer the pressing questions people have about protecting their online privacy.

Interested in Recommending the NCA for a Cy Pres Award? 

If you would like to recommend NCA or have questions about whether NCA might be appropriate for a cy pres award in a particular case, please contact

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