Low Income Taxpayer Clinic is Beneficiary of Cy Pres Award

The Clinical Education Program’s Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) was recently the beneficiary of a cy pres award. Cy pres was awarded in the case of Pearlstone v. Walmart, a class action lawsuit related to an under-refunding of sales tax on returned purchases.

The LITC provides students with the opportunity to develop real-life lawyering skills working as “student attorneys” under faculty supervision on tax-related legal issues and provides free legal representation to low-income taxpayers in disputes with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), including possible appearances before the US Tax Court. Recently, the LITC secured vital debt reduction for a client.

Per the terms of the Settlement Agreement, the distribution of unclaimed residual funds was distributed to Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, Legal Aid Western Missouri, Mid-Missouri Legal Services Corporation, Legal Services of Southern Missouri, and Washington University School of Law’s Low Income Taxpayer Clinic.

The LITC will receive approximately $33,800; it will be used to further the efforts of the clinic to assist low-income taxpayer clients.

The LITC is just one of our 19 acclaimed legal clinics and externships. Through our clinical education program, we provide quality pro bono legal representation to clients who cannot otherwise afford representation. Launched in 1973, we are proud to celebrate the program’s 50th anniversary this year. More than 90% of WashULaw students participate in our clinical programs, making a meaningful difference in St. Louis and becoming better attorneys in the process.

Cy pres is a doctrine that permits a court to award any unallocated, unclaimed, or undeliverable funds from a settlement of judgment to a nonprofit organization that would advance the interests of the class and people similarly situated.