Lawyer Sues Cleaners for Missing Pants, Demands $65 Mil
April 27, 2007 01:15 PM
No, this is not another autobiographical post. Instead, I want you to meet Roy Pearson, an Administrative Law Judge for the District of Columbia. He had a bad dry cleaning experience:
In 2002, Custom lost a pair of pants that Pearson had put in for cleaning. One week after the error was discovered, Custom gave Pearson a check for $150 for new pants. A few days later, the Chungs, Korean immigrants who live in Virginia and own three D.C. cleaners, told Pearson that he was no longer welcome at their store. That dispute was eventually put aside, and Pearson continued to use the company.
Move ahead to 2005, when Pearson got a new job as a judge. He needed to wear a suit to work every day. He dug out his five Hickey Freeman suits and found them to be "uncomfortably tight." He asked Custom to let the waists out two or three inches. Worried that he might be up against his Visa card limit, he took the suits in for alterations one or two at a time.
According to a statement filed by both parties in the lawsuit, Pearson dropped off one pair of pants May 3 so he could wear them to his new job May 6. But on May 5, the pants weren't ready. Soo Chung promised them for early the next morning, but when Pearson arrived, the pants weren't there.
So he sued.
He says he deserves millions for the damages he suffered by not getting his pants back, for his litigation costs, for "mental suffering, inconvenience and discomfort," for the value of the time he has spent on the lawsuit, for leasing a car every weekend for 10 years and for a replacement suit, according to court papers
The request for the reimbursement for leasing a car is a totally new one on me. I've certainly never seen that in my legal practice. What's his legal theory?
The plaintiff, who says he has devoted more than 1,000 hours to represent himself in this battle, says that as a result of poor service at Custom, he must find another cleaner. And because Pearson does not own a car, he says he will have to rent one to get his clothes taken care of.
Well okay then, that explains it! But how does Pearson get from there to $65 million?
The District's consumer protection law provides for damages of $1,500 per violation per day. Pearson started multiplying: 12 violations over 1,200 days, times three defendants.
The Defendants have spent tens of thousands defending the case, are are likely to spend tens of thousands more when the case goes to trial in June. They've offered $12,000 to settle, but it sounds as though Mr. Pearson won't stop until he bankrupts them.
As a lawyer, I hear stories about lawsuit abuse all the time. Without a doubt, this is the worst I have ever heard. Unbelievable.