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CLEVELAND -- The Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court distributed more than $6 million to 226 charities from across the State of Ohio during a ceremony Thursday evening.

As part of a civil action heard by Judge John J. Russo, more than $11 million in total is being distributed by The Honor Project to charities throughout Ohio.

The Honor Project is what's known as a "cy-près." If there are unclaimed funds in a class action settlement, a judge can use the cy-près doctrine to distribute funds that remain for beneficial use.

The Honor Project Trust emanates from litigation pursued by the Ohio Attorney General Office in State of Ohio, et al. v. American International Group, Inc., et al. Upon settlement of all claims with the Defendants, excess proceeds, termed "disgorged funds," remained.

The Attorney General's Office requested that Judge Russo, the Presiding Judge in the case, distribute the funds under the Court's equitable powers. The Honor Project Cy Pres Initiative was created, outlining how the funds would be applied for and distributed.

There have been three phases to The Honor Project. The first phase was a $2,596,839 million distribution to the companies involved in the litigation and companies who could have potentially suffered damages. In the second phase, $2,450,000 million was provided to companies that agreed to use the funds to hire new employees, thus reducing Ohio unemployment.

In the third and final phase next month, the remaining money will be distributed to charitable organizations that were selected after an extensive application process.

The ceremony was held at the Global Center For Health Innovation on Thursday, September 4th at 5:00 pm. The Global Center has graciously donated the space for the evening.

Numerous local celebrities were on hand as check presenters, including WKYC-TV Senior Health Correspondent Monica Robins.

To learn more, go to www.honorproject.org

Follow WKYC's Senior Health Correspondent Monica Robins on Twitter: @MonicaRobins

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