Pro bono volunteer perseveres to score big win for cheated tenant

RALEIGH · May 1, 2019 – Thanks to Chad Essick, a partner with Poyner Spruill in the firm’s Raleigh office, one of our clients received a check for more than $2,000 this week — long overdue compensation for getting ripped off by a landlord a few years ago.

At that time, our client thought she was moving into a new apartment. Instead, the landlord took her first-month’s rent and security deposit, but moved someone else into the unit.

Incensed at the theft, Chad sued the landlord, who then filed for bankruptcy. Undeterred, Chad’s firm filed a “proof of claim” in the bankruptcy case, seeking to establish our client as a creditor whom the landlord might have to repay before discharging his debts. The move initially resulted in our client receiving a few hundred dollars to cover her lost security deposit. We all thought that was the end of it.

Fast forward to last week, when our client unexpectedly got a check for more than $2,000 as partial payment for our client’s claim as an unsecured creditor.

“This is an outstanding result for the client given the difficult circumstances,” said Nathan Koenning, pro bono coordinator in our Central Intake Unit. “It’s also a neat example of creditors’ rights being used to compensate a victim.”

“I was happy to work on this case,” Chad said. “The client’s story was very compelling, and she was very emotional when I called her to tell her about the money.”

“His terrific work — and persistence — on behalf of our client is much appreciated,” said George Hausen, our executive director.

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