Civil Justice Reform

Residual Class Action Awards: Cy Pres - Podcast

Litigation Practice Group Podcast
Brian T. Fitzpatrick, Theodore H. Frank March 21, 2014

gavel money

Cy pres (from the French cy pres comme —“as near as possible”) originated in the trust context, but has more recently been applied to class action litigation, as courts try to determine what to do with sometimes significant amounts of settlement funds remaining after all identified plaintiff awards have been made.  In recent decades, courts have agreed to award such remaining funds to third party recipients who, while not parties to the underlying suits, are deemed worthy by the court.  Sometimes, the courts have selected these third party recipients based on recommendations from the attorneys representing the plaintiffs.  What are the legal underpinnings for such awards to entities or people not party to the underlying case?  What are the policy considerations in making or prohibiting such awards?  These and other questions were discussed by our experts.


  • Prof. Brian T. Fitzpatrick, Vanderbilt University Law School
  • Mr. Theodore H. Frank, Founder and President, Center for Class Action Fairness and Adjunct Fellow, Manhattan Institute Center for Legal Policy

[Listen now!]

Young Legal Scholars Paper Presentations - Event Audio/Video

16th Annual Faculty Conference
Andrew Kent, Joshua Kleinfeld, Robert Leider, Aaron Nielson, Ozan Varol, Thomas W. Merrill, Steven G. Calabresi January 09, 2014

Young Legal Scholars Paper Presentations - Event Audio/VideoThe Federalist Society's Faculty Division hosted this panel featuring young legal scholar paper presentations on Saturday, January 4, 2014, during the 16th Annual Faculty Conference.

Young Legal Scholars Paper Presentations
Kent/Surrey Room??
3:00 - 5:00 p.m.

  • Prof. Andrew Kent, Fordham University School of Law, "Are Damages Different? Bivens and National Security"
  • Prof. Joshua Kleinfeld, Northwestern University School of Law, "Redressive Justice"
  • Dr. Robert Leider, Law Clerk to the Hon. Diane Sykes, "Federalism and the Military Power of the United States"
  • Prof. Aaron Nielson, BYU Law School, "In Defense of Formal Rulemaking"
  • Prof. Ozan Varol, Lewis & Clark Law School, "Temporary Constitutions"
  • Commenter??Prof. Thomas Merrill, Columbia Law School 
  • Moderator: Prof. Steven Calabresi, Northwestern Law School

Warwick New York Hotel
New York NY

[Watch or listen now!]

Lawyer Barons: What Their Contingency Fees Really Cost America - Faculty Book Podcast

Faculty Division Podcast 09-12-12 featuring Lester Brickman and Peter Schuck
Lester Brickman, Peter H. Schuck September 11, 2012

Lester BrickmanPeter SchuckLawyer Barons exposes the high but unseen cost of litigation driven by contingency fees, a method of financing that is said to improve access to the courts for personal injury victims with limited means.  Author Lester Brickman argues that there is more to the picture than just improving access, however; that the contingency fee also enables lawyers and judges to collaborate and incentivize litigation to a degree that distorts our civil justice system and imposes other financial and social costs.  

Brickman, a professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, is joined by critical commenter Peter Schuck, the Simeon E. Baldwin Professor Emeritus of Law at Yale University, discuss the book.

Loser Pays in Texas - Podcast

Litigation Practice Group Podcast
Ronen Avraham, E. Lee Parsley, Walter K. Olson, Dennis G. Jacobs, Dean A. Reuter June 26, 2012

Loser Pays in TexasOne year ago last month, Texas passed a much-talked-about “loser pays” bill. In certain cases, the law requires the losing party to pay the costs of the winning party. Theoretically, a loser pays law is thought to reduce litigation, as the plaintiff in a law suit now has something at stake – if he does not prevail, he must, under certain conditions, pay the costs of the defendant. In this previously recorded podcast, our experts discussed the Texas law, its breadth, its conditions for applicability, and its effect on lawsuits in Texas. Featuring Prof. Ronen Avraham of the University of Texas School of Law, Mr. E. Lee Parsley of E. Lee Parsley, P.C., Mr. Walter Olson of Cato Institute, and Judge Dennis Jacobs of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit as the moderator. [Listen now!]

Philadelphia Tort Litigation: Forum Shopping and Venue Reform

White Paper
Mark A. Behrens May 24, 2012

Philadelphia Tort Litigation: Forum Shopping and Venue ReformTort plaintiffs generally prefer to sue in local courthouses to potentially benefit from favorable bias by local judges and juries. This advantage may be augmented if the trial court judge is elected and the defendant is an out-of-state corporation. The Framers, recognizing the risk of favoritism in cases pitting local residents against nonresident defendants, created federal court diversity-of-citizenship jurisdiction to provide a balance. Plaintiffs also find local courthouses more convenient as a practical matter. The plaintiff can meet in-person with counsel without having to travel or be billed for travel expenses. Local lawyers are often familiar with local court personnel, police officers, treating physicians, and insurance adjusters. From a societal perspective, the tendency of plaintiffs to bring suit in local forums helps distribute the burden of lawsuits in accordance with the population... [Read more!]