California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc. (CRLA) has received a cy pres award of $800,000 to help with their mission in aiding low-income individuals, families, and communities in rural California. Lieff Cabraser partner Kelly Dermody and Eric Gibbs of Girard Gibbs LLP nominated the nonprofit legal service program for this award.
“For nearly 50 years, CRLA has been fighting for the rights of California’s most vulnerable people. They are warriors for justice, and we could not be more pleased to support them,” said Ms. Dermody. Mr. Gibbs added, “We are thrilled to provide support for the vital and impactful work of CRLA, and believe that supporting the organization is a meaningful way to protect and advance the interests of vulnerable consumers.”
“CRLA is thankful to the court and the attorneys of Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, and Girard Gibbs for making this gift possible. We will make sure that farmworkers and low-income rural Californians continue to have access to justice and fairness under the law,” stated José R. Padilla, Executive Director.
Cy pres is a legal doctrine embodying the principle of allocating relief “as nearly as possible” to match the underlying intent or nature of a given case’s settlement. When making payments to specific individuals its impracticable, the doctrine allows courts to allocate some or all of a settlement’s funds to charities or organizations otherwise working for the public good. First endorsed by the California Supreme Court in 1986, the principle was embraced by numerous other U.S. courts.
CRLA provides free legal assistance, community education, and outreach programs to more than 43,000 low-income rural Californians. The organization has helped to improve conditions for farm workers, single parents, school children, the elderly, people with disabilities, and entire communities. The cy pres funds will benefit CRLA to continue its mission to meet the legal needs of low-income individuals.