Civil Clinic Helps Client Recover $20,000 from the State Controller’s Office

“If I had it all to do over again, I would have done at least one other semester in the Legal Clinics,” reflects USD Legal Clinics Civil Clinic legal intern Joshua Bradus. “The experience opened my eyes to law in practice, rather than law in theory. These are two very different animals, and for that reason the clinic exposure was invaluable. Additionally, the staff was helpful and positive. The clinics were a wonderful ease into the practice of law. What better way to experience writing your first motions, filing your first complaints, or dealing with legal matters generally, than in a t-shirt and shorts with guidance from experts?”

California State Controller’s Office. Photo credit: Coolcaesar at en.wikipedia

California State Controller’s Office.
Photo credit: Coolcaesar at en.wikipedia

Legal intern Joshua Bradus had the opportunity to work in the Civil Clinic assisting low-income clients in a number of legal matters. A recent success story involved assisting a client in recovering $20,000 from the State Controller’s office.

“The client was not only thrilled to recover her funds, but was effusive in her praise for the respectful and diligent attention she received from both Ms. Ryan (the previous intern on the case) and Mr. Bradus,” comments Professor Gruber. “While the interns were never really in doubt about getting the funds returned to their rightful owner, it was a pleasure to know that they could so intelligently break through the state’s bureaucratic layers, something that had so consistently and pervasively frustrated the client. “

Originally, the client purchased two cashier’s checks from Washington Mutual in early 2004, each worth $10,000. In 2008, Washington Mutual was bought by JP Morgan Chase and in 2014, the client attempted to cash the checks. However, she was unable to cash them, and later received a letter from JP Morgan Chase stating that the checks had been escheated to the state of California in 2008. The client attempted to talk to Chase, who referred her to Integrated Payment Systems (IPS); IPS then referred her to the State Controller’s office. After filing a claim with the State Controller in October 2014, the client retained the Civil Clinic in November to help see her through the process.

“I was diligent in following up with the claim, gaining a point of contact within the California Controller’s Office, and seeing the matter through to completion,” explains Bradus. “Caitlin Ryan, the legal intern from the previous semester, was also a vital part of the case’s success, as she initiated the claim and got the ball rolling at the State Controller’s Office.”

Upon legal intern Caitlin Ryan’s first contact with the State Controller’s office, she was informed that the process of reviewing the client’s packet would take six months. Bradus continued to follow up with the Controller’s office, and in May 2015 the client informed the Clinic she had received her checks from the State Controller’s office.

“While the support from faculty on this matter was relatively limited given the simplicity of the matter, overall, Professors Snyder and Gruber were very insightful during my time at the clinic,” adds Bradus. “They provided true and practical insights into the legal profession, and took on a mentorship role.”

“As to the client specifically, I was thrilled to hear she received her property back,” reflects Bradus. “It feels good to help out someone in need, and that’s what the Legal Clinics are designed to do. I would, and have, recommended clinic experience to my fellow Toreros.”

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