September 21, 2017


Washington, D.C. — The Council of Institutional Investors, the country’s leading voice for corporate governance, recently singled out Cohen Milstein and Partner Daniel Sommers, co-chair of our Securities Litigation & Investor Protection practice, for successfully petitioning judges in two of the firm’s cases to award $45,881 in residual settlement money to the Council’s non-profit sister organization, the CII Research and Education Fund. 

In its September 21 newsletter, the CII Governance Alert, the Council said the money from the cy pres awards, as such distributions are known, would be used by its 501(c)(3) sister organization “to fund research and publish nonpartisan reports to educate the public, corporations, shareholders, public officials and other policymakers about corporate governance, investment, securities litigation, accounting standards and financial and legal practices that foster accountability and integrity.”

A week earlier, Washington State Investment Board Executive Director Theresa Whitmarsh, who chairs the Council’s Board of Directors, had announced the donations to the audience at CII’s Fall 2017 Conference in San Diego, which Mr. Sommers attended with Cohen Milstein colleagues Carol Gilden and Jay Chaudhuri

Cohen Milstein is a longtime member of CII whose attorneys have been actively engaged in the organization. Mr. Sommers, who is based in Washington, D.C., currently serves on its Capital Markets Advisory Council, a position previously held by Ms. Gilden, the resident partner in our Chicago office. Prior to joining Cohen Milstein as of counsel in our Raleigh office, Mr. Chaudhuri, served as CII Board chair while he was general counsel and senior policy advisor at the North Carolina Department of State Treasurer. Another Cohen Milstein attorney, Luke Bierman, also chaired the CII Board.

Cy pres awards are granted by judges to third parties when it becomes impossible or impractical to distribute all funds to the relevant parties in a legal proceeding. Consistent with their derivation from a French term meaning “as near,” cy pres awards are sometimes used to distribute the final portion of a class action settlement fund to a charity or organization with a “nexus” to the case. In this instance, Cohen Milstein, as lead counsel, successfully petitioned the judges in both Mulligan v. Impax and In re Intellicall Securities Litigation that the CII Research and Education Fund was sufficiently linked to the purpose of the litigation and the plaintiffs’ class to warrant the award.