Cy Pres - CPIL

When directed at USD’s Center for Public Interest Law, cy pres funds can help the Center provide consumer protection advocacy in the community while also advancing legal education.

California Code of Civil Procedure § 384(b)

California law permits unpaid residual funds from class action settlements to be paid “to nonprofit organizations or foundations to support projects that will benefit the class or similarly situated persons, or that promote the law consistent with the objectives and purposes of the underlying cause of action.”

Center for Public Interest Law

The Center for Public Interest Law (CPIL) at the USD School of Law is an ideal recipient of cy pres funds in that it is a nonprofit advocacy center that represents the broad-based interests of consumers and underrepresented individuals before California’s legislature, courts, and regulatory agencies in a wide range of industries. CPIL also trains future public interest lawyers through its unique academic program at USD School of Law, which provides student interns with the opportunity to study and monitor California’s major agencies that regulate business, professions, and trades.

Founded in 1980 by Professor Robert C. Fellmeth, who serves as the center’s Executive Director, CPIL has been instrumental in achieving significant reforms at many of California’s regulatory agencies over the years, ensuring that these bodies are properly focused on public protection, as opposed to the wishes of the regulated industry. CPIL’s expertise has long been relied upon by the Legislature, the executive branch, and the courts where the regulation of licensed professions is concerned, and CPIL staff have been appointed in various capacities to serve as independent monitors to study and recommend reforms of such agencies as the State Bar of California, the Medical Board of California, and the Contractors’ State License Board. CPIL also publishes the California Regulatory Law Reporter, a legal journal that covers the activities and decisions of major California regulatory agencies.

CPIL is involved in a broad range of consumer protection issues, spanning many industries across California, as exhibited in the list of agencies that CPIL currently and directly monitors:

Agencies Monitored

    • Dental Board of California (dentists and dental assistants)
    • Department of Managed Health Care (HMOs)
    • Medical Board of California (physicians and surgeons)
    • Board of Pharmacy (pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, pharmacies, drug wholesalers)
    • Board of Registered Nursing (registered nurses, nurse practitioners, certified nurse-midwives)
    • Veterinary Medical Board (veterinarians and registered veterinary technicians)
    • Contractors’ State License Board (construction contractors)
    • Department of Insurance (insurance companies, brokers, agents, insurance policies)
    • Public Utilities Commission (telecommunications, energy, transportation)
    • Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (private, for-profit schools)
    • California Board of Accountancy (certified public accountants)
    • State Bar of California (attorneys)

Examples of Former Cy Pres Awards

  • In 2013, CPIL received a cy pres award of more than $46,000 to support its work to protect and promote the interests of California consumers.
  • In 2007, CPIL (along with the Children’s Advocacy Institute) shared a cy pres distribution of over $50,000; that award was used to support ongoing efforts to train law students to be effective consumer and child advocates.
  • In 2007, CPIL received a cy pres award of more than $41,000. This award supported its effort to ensure that state government is responsive and accountable to the interest of the general public, and to make the regulatory functions of California government more efficient and visible by serving as a public monito