[TiGirl is unavailable right now, so at her suggestion I’m updating one of her previous entries by posting a new article from my blog – ENM]
By now, most people have probably heard about the case involving Roy Pearson, a Washington, DC administrative law judge, who sued a dry cleaner for $54 million, over a missing pair of pants. Today, a judge ruled that he not only doesn’t get a dime from the dry cleaner, he will also have to pay the dry cleaners’ legal fees and costs.
Much more interesting, however, is what happened in the courtroom. Here’s a description from ABC News:
The trial proved nearly as dramatic — and unusual — as the plaintiff’s claims. On the witness stand, Pearson broke down in tears and had to take a break from his testimony because he became too emotional while questioning himself about his experience with the missing trousers.
In his opening statement, Pearson came out swinging, telling the court, “Never before in recorded history have a group of defendants engaged in such misleading and unfair business practices.”
Repeatedly referring to himself as “we,” Pearson sought to present himself as the leader of a class of tens of thousands, if not a half million people, consisting of local residents he believes are at risk of falling for such insidious business practices as posting “Satisfaction Guaranteed” and “Same Day Service” signs. Pearson said at one point in court filings that he planned to call 63 witnesses.
“Mr. Pearson, you are not ‘we.’ You are an ‘I,'” Bartnoff told him.
As Pearson explained the details of the missing pants, he struggled to get through his hour and a half of testimony, most of which concerned his credentials and his background.
He became visibly emotional when he reached the point in the story in which he recounted a confrontation with Soo Chung from the dry cleaning store.
“These are not my pants,” he testified, and said he told her, “I have in my adult life, with one exception, never worn pants with cuffs.”
Pearson testified that Chung insisted, saying, “These are your pants.”
Pearson then rushed from the courtroom, overcome with emotion.
From that description, I think it’s pretty obvious that Pearson is more than a little off in the head. I’m not saying the pants presented were his pants, because I’ve had a lot of dry cleaners screw up on my stuff so it’s very possible they made a mistake; but at the same time, $54 million over a lost pair of pants? Give me a frickin’ break.
Obviously, it was a frivolous lawsuit which should never have been brought in the first place (after all, the Chungs at one point offered him $12,000, which is more than enough to make up for his lost pants). It has damaged the Chungs’ reputation, their credit rating, and generally destroyed their lives. One of the Chungs said that they just want to go back to Korea after this fiasco.
So I think paying the Chungs’ attorney fees and court costs just is not enough. Allow them to amend their counterclaim, if necessary, then grant them major damages for what they’ve endured. That not only will be a step in the direction of making this right again for a couple of hardworking immigrants who have suffered greatly at the hands of a man who intentionally abused our system of justice, it will also serve to warn others who might be tempted to do something that stupid.
Then again, I think you really need to be crazy in order to think you’re entitled to that much money just because your pants were lost at the drycleaner’s, so even that probably won’t serve as a deterrent to other crazies who think something that small is worth zillions.