What Happens to Unclaimed Money in Class Action Suits

Unclaimed Money in Class Action Lawsuits

Did you know that millions and millions of dollars of settlements from class action suits have been unclaimed by the plaintiffs, consumers, small businesses, investors and the general public? Hundreds of millions of dollars get reverted back to the same companies that were found to be in the wrong or who agreed to settle the cases out of court.

The reason why so much settlement money goes unclaimed is the majority of people who are entitled to the settlement money simply don’t know it, or they never receive official notification in the mail, never opened the mail, or they died, or because they really didn’t want to fill out the very long, complex legal documents required in order to claim the funds. For these reasons, a significant amount of people do not take advantage of their personal legal rights. Basically, they are being denied justice.

Unclaimed settlement money is a complete irritant to the courts, because unclaimed money is an issue for the claim administrators and disbursing agents who are in charge of the distributing class action settlement money to harmed individuals. As each year passes, the aggregated total of unclaimed cash, which was earmarked for distribution from class action settlement funds, escrow accounts increases.

In the early 80’s, many lawyers began to appeal to the courts to not give the unclaimed money back to the wrongful defendants, but use the Cy Pres doctrine, which translates to ‘as nearly as possible’. Meaning, the lawyers said the unclaimed money should be dispersed to projects that are as close to the original intention as possible. Mostly, all unclaimed settlement money now goes to help the community as a whole, for instance to help lower income families, to charities and to other organizations that help improve the quality of life for all concerned. Currently, many class action law firms are now requesting, before a settlement is agreed upon, that the defendant in the case agrees to allow unclaimed settlement money to be given to charities.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 12th, 2014 at 1:15 pm and is filed under Class Action Information. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

8 Responses to “What Happens to Unclaimed Money in Class Action Suits”

  1. Christy Cochran Says:

    I have not heard from the claim that I sent against wal-mart and have heard from several people and they have recieved there check. I was with Wal-Mart for several years.

  2. Christy Cochran Says:

    Please have someone contact me by mail or e-mail. My mailing address is 6331 Plumosa Ave. Fort Myers Florida 33908.

  3. Christy Cochran Says:

    I have no more comments just would like to hear what has happened to my claim and what the outcome will be.

  4. Christy Cochran Says:

    Please contact me

  5. Jamie Wilson Says:

    how would i go about finding out if a class action lawsuit was settled.

  6. Deanna Antczak Says:

    My son was in a classaction suit against Anzon Lead back in the late 80″s early 90″s. We had moved and some time later I had heard from other neighbors that they had reaceived a settlement for their chicls lead numbers being high but my son has never heard anything. How do I go about finding out any info on hoe to obtain his portion for being a damaged lead child.please advise Thank You

  7. Rhodesia Tueaud Says:

    I have 4 children who had been affected by lead poison in Louisiana but was not included in the Hano Hud lead posion class action law suit.

  8. Gordon lee robbins Says:

    We have moved several times since the knee replacement class action. Just wondering if there are any more payments for me. I was told the remainder of the settlement would be divided between the people in the class action
    Phone number is 435-770-6000
    Thank you


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