Class Action Lawsuit Award Directed to Access to Justice Fund
| Pictured from left to right are Candace Crowley,
State Bar of Michigan; Linda Rexer, executive director, Michigan State
Bar Foundation; Honorable John Feikens, U. S. District Court, Eastern
District of Michigan; Thomas W. Cranmer, immediate past president, State
Bar of Michigan; Edward Pappas, vice-president, State Bar of Michigan;
Janet Welch, executive director, State Bar of Michigan.
The Access to Justice Fund has received a $23,913 award from a federal class action lawsuit order signed recently by Judge John Feikens. The order directed funds unclaimed by class action members in the case of Lessard v City of Allen Park to the ATJ Fund because it represents the next best use of the original purpose of the lawsuit. The award was made under the doctrine of cy pres, an equitable measure that directs unclaimed funds to charitable causes.
“This court is very aware of the unmet need for civil legal services to the poor in this state,” said Judge Feikens. “I am pleased to order a distribution of the unclaimed amounts of money in this case to the Access to Justice Fund because both class actions and civil legal aid programs facilitate the delivery of legal services to those who cannot otherwise obtain or afford representation in legal matters.”
The Access to Justice Campaign was established in 1998 through
a partnership of the State Bar of Michigan, the Michigan State Bar Foundation,
and nonprofit civil legal aid agencies. Through the campaign, lawyers, judges,
individuals, corporations, and foundations have given nearly $7 million in
contributions and pledges to the ATJ Fund, which is held at the Michigan State
Bar Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization. More than 1.3 million people in Michigan
qualify for free civil legal assistance because their annual income is less
than 125 percent of the federal poverty guideline.
For more information on the ATJ Fund, or how to direct a cy pres gift to the ATJ Fund, please contact Linda Rexer at the Michigan State Bar Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org or (800) 968-6723.