Cy Pres Windfall for Disabilities Rights Advocates in Texas Legal Services Community

Last week the Texas Access to Justice Foundation, along with five legal services organizations that do disabilities rights advocacy, received a record $2.6 million in cy pres funds left over from a class action in the Lonestar State.  The class action suit itself was a disabilities rights case; plaintiffs argued that a requirement that disabled Texans pay for their own blue disability parking cards – the kinds that are displayed by drivers when they park – violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Even better news for disabilities rights advocates is that the $2.6 million flowing into the legal services community is only a fraction of a larger $9 million+, the balance of which will go to other nonprofits serving those with disabilities.  Here’s a press release from the Texas Access to Justice Foundation, and here’s coverage in the San Antonio Business Journal.

For those law students wondering about how much cy pres awards help the civil legal services community, the answer is that they can be tremendous boons in terms of allowing organizations to shore up or to expand their services – which may include hiring new lawyers (hint, hint).  On the other hand, cy pres awards are unpredictable, and thus can not be relied upon as consistent revenue streams.  We’ve covered some past instances of cy pres awards benefiting legal services providers, including this recent development in Maryland, and a cy pres award in California.

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