One of the strangely tricky parts about settling a TCPA class action is selecting a proper cy pres recipient. As the recent Dish settlement demonstrates, cy pres recipients may end up collecting millions of dollars as part of these settlements as perfectly good money goes unclaimed by class members.
I remember my first big class settlement back in 2013 resulted in some $800k being left over after a second distribution and I was simply shocked. Who were all of these people that made claims but then didn’t cash their checks twice? Weird.
But it definitely happens.
So picking a cy pres recipient is actually pretty important. There may be quite a bit of money headed in the recipient’s direction one day.
Now, the law provides (paraphrasing) that cy pres recipients should be organizations that promote the interests of class members. That’s a pretty fuzzy standard by design. And getting plaintiffs and defendants to agree on a single organization is actually pretty tough—these folks tend to see the world (and attendant “benefit”) through different lenses.
I’ve recently thrown tcpaworld.com’s hat into the ring as a cy pres recipient in TCPA class actions. I mean, why not? We provide excellent TCPA-related resource to the public at large, we are always pushing for TCPA compliance and—although we are certainly skewed toward the defense, we always try to provide objective information and an accurate assessment of case law. Plus my Year End Review is the most comprehensive and well-read annual TCPA review on the planet (I assume).
So keep us in mind for your next settlement.
Another good one is LeadsCouncil. This organization literally exists in order to promote high standards and compliance within the lead generation/marketing industries. I cannot think of a worthier cy pres recipient—other than TCPAWorld.com. Plus Queenie is on the board, so there’s that.
There’s also PACE. Fantastic organization that helps industry participants have their voices heard on critical regulations effecting outreach.
The one place a defense lawyer should NEVER agree to send their client’s cy pres dollars is the NCNC, of course. These folks are constantly trying to make class action lawsuits easier and operate (IMO) as the lobbying arm of the plaintiff’s bar. Handing them more dollars is the worst thing a TCPA defendant can do. They once even told Congress that the TCPA is “straightforward and clear.” I mean, come on.
Some other suggestions include SCU Privacy Law Certificate and High Tech Law Institute provide academic and Local Initiatives Support Corporation. These folks were recently approved by the court in Sanders v. Rbs Citizens, N.A., Case No. 13-cv-03136-BAS-RBB, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22565 (S.D. Cal. February 5, 2021). That may mean that any privacy section of any law school or college might qualify.
On that note, Go Bears.