Law School benefits from class-action agreement
Public Relations - Published: February 23, 2011
FlitterLorenzgiftWidener Law has benefitted greatly from the work of two civic-minded alumni who negotiated a class-action settlement that led to a significant donation to the school.

Graduates Cary L. Flitter ’81 and Theodore E. Lorenz ’92 presented Law Dean Linda L. Ammons with a check for $203,779.12 recently on the Delaware campus. The men also co-teach a consumer-law course as adjunct professors.

“This is so wonderful,” Ammons said. “Thank you for remembering your law school.”

Flitter and Lorenz’s firm, Lundy Flitter Beldecos & Berger, P.C., was lead counsel on the 2006 lawsuit filed in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. They represented a class of 4,400 Pennsylvanians in the case, which involved automobile financing practices.

The men negotiated a $50 million settlement agreement, which received final approval in July 2010 and recently concluded. While the majority of the agreement involved $44 million worth of debt forgiveness and the repair of people’s credit reports, roughly $6 million was also paid out in $842 checks to each of the class members. The agreement carried a section that called for any of that money that was not distributed – such as checks that went uncashed – to be shared equally by Widener Law, Temple University Beasley School of Law and University of Pennsylvania Law School.

Flitter also teaches at Temple; defense counsel on the case attended Penn.

“We wanted to have an impact,” Flitter recalled, “one that benefits the area of consumer law and the disadvantaged.” The money will likely be used to benefit Widener’s clinical or public-service programs.

Associate Professor Nathaniel C. Nichols, who directs the school’s clinical programs, is investigating Widener’s options for the gift.

Flitter, who has been teaching on the Delaware campus since 1999 said it was the fourth such gift related to a settlement that his firm has made to the school. It is by far the largest.

Lorenz, who began co-teaching at Widener with Flitter last fall, credited Flitter’s mastery of sophisticated class-action work, and his ability to see a potential case shrouded in intellectually challenging circumstances that other lawyers would refuse. That talent led to a case like this, and, ultimately, helped a large class of people and the law school too.

“It feels good to give back,” Lorenz said.

The gift is a welcome addition to “Taking the Lead: The Campaign for Widener.” The school kicked off the public phase of the campaign in January and has a $12 million fund-raising goal for the School of Law. The campaign will support endowment, special projects, capital projects and the annual fund.