Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Judge Orders Class-Action Settlement Paid to Nonprofits

The Orlando Sentinel reports that Florida Circuit Court Judge James E.C. Perry has ordered $3.4 million from a class-action settlement pool paid to a variety of nonprofits, including more than $1 million to several Central Florida charities.  The settlement arose out of an alleged price-fixing scheme by Bayer A.G. (see the class action notice for more information), but if it were distributed to the approximately 130 million affected consumers they would only receive a few pennies each.  The plaintiffs' attorneys, Mark Nation and Kenneth G. Gilman, therefore suggested that the settlement be paid to several consumer nonprofits, including the National Consumer Law Center in Boston, the American Anti-trust Institute in Washington, DC., and Public Citizen.  Judge Perry decided instead, however, to pay only $138,000 to the nonprofits recommended by the attorneys and to distribute the balance to a variety of national and local organizations.  The national entities include the Make-A-Wish Foundation of America, Covenant House International, Shriners Hospital for Children, Special Olympics Inc. and Ronald McDonald House Charities Inc.  The local entities included Safe House of Seminole, which provides for battered women and children, and Seminole affiliates of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and Habitat for Humanity.  The $3.4 million represents the balance in the settlement pool of $4.75 million, after payment to the plaintiffs' attorneys of $1.19 million plus $152,000 for expenses.


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