(a) It is the policy of the State of California to ensure that the unpaid cash residue and unclaimed or abandoned funds in class action litigation are distributed, to the fullest extent possible, in a manner designed either to further the purposes of the underlying class action or causes of action, or to promote justice for all Californians. The Legislature finds that the use of funds for these purposes is in the public interest, is a proper use of the funds, and is consistent with essential public and governmental purposes.
(b) Except as provided in subdivision (c), before the entry of a judgment in a class action established pursuant to Section 382 that provides for the payment of money to members of the class, the court shall determine the total amount that will be payable to all class members if all class members are paid the amount to which they are entitled pursuant to the judgment. The court shall also set a date when the parties shall report to the court the total amount that was actually paid to the class members. After the report is received, the court shall amend the judgment to direct the defendant to pay the sum of the unpaid residue or unclaimed or abandoned class member funds, plus any interest that has accrued thereon, to nonprofit organizations or foundations to support projects that will benefit the class or similarly situated persons, or that promote the law consistent with the objectives and purposes of the underlying cause of action, to child advocacy programs, or to nonprofit organizations providing civil legal services to the indigent. The court shall ensure that the distribution of any unpaid residue or unclaimed or abandoned class member funds derived from multistate or national cases brought under California law shall provide substantial or commensurate benefit to California consumers. For purposes of this subdivision, “judgment” includes a consent judgment, decree, or settlement agreement that has been approved by the court.
(c) This section shall not apply to any class action brought against any public entity, as defined in Section 811.2 of the Government Code , or against any public employee, as defined in Section 811.4 of the Government Code . However, this section shall not be construed to abrogate any equitable cy pres remedy that may be available in any class action with regard to all or part of the cash residue or unclaimed or abandoned class member funds.
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