Meyerkord & Kurth is pleased to announce that our firm recently hosted a Cy pres ceremony that honored the legacy of former Missouri Supreme Court Judge Richard B. Teitleman by providing financial assistance to aid poor and elderly residents in need of legal services and two local law schools.
Cy pres – a French phrase meaning “as near as” – is a term used for court-approved distributions of leftover class action settlement funds that cannot be fully distributed to some or all members of the class. As part of this event, the funds came from a 10-year-old class action case involving advertisement flyers faxed to recipients without their permission. According to Attorney Max Margulis, who represented the class with Attorney Brian J. Wanca, many class members were located and received their settlements. After exhausting efforts to locate other claimants, there remained $3.8 million in funds left.
In January, the court approved distribution of the remaining funds to Legal Services of Eastern Missouri (LSEM), a non-profit organization that provides civil legal services to low-income residents and elderly individuals in 21 counties, and two local law schools.
LSEM, where the late Judge Teitelman worked for nearly 20 years and served as executive director and general counsel, received nearly $2.8 million during the ceremony, which will be used to ensure equal access to justice for the underprivileged and fund the creation of the Richard B. Teitelman Fund to support a new attorney position within LSEM. Margulis and Wanco also presented LSEM with an additional $1+ million check as part of their 4-to-1 match of community raised funds the organization gathered on its own. Those funds will be used to support other critical LSEM legal services.
The additional funds from the class-action were also distributed to two local law schools – The Washington University School of Law and Saint Louis University School of Law. Washington University School of Law, Teitleman’s alma matter, received $400,000 for a Teitelman-named public-service stipend fund, for which it also raised $250,000 in additional funds, and both law schools received $100,000 to support their law clinics and assist consumers throughout St. Louis.
As a homegrown firm with a regional footprint, Meyerkord & Kurth is proud to support events and charitable causes that support our local residents and legal peers, and which help ensure all Americans have equal access to justice and the high quality representation to achieve it. Our firm has hosted similar events in the past, including one cy pres event that distributed funds from a class action lawsuit handled by our own Attorney John S. Steward, and looks forward to continuing our support of organizations and causes that benefit our communities.