ABUSIVE & OUTRAGEOUS Lawsuit –US67 Million for MISSING Pants; Plaintaiff- A Lawyer & Judge; Disbar Him & Reappointment as Administrative Law Judge
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The following opinion sums it all about the
“That this case has not been thrown out of court as an act of pure insanity and bullying is an indictment of the entire
"I have followed this story since reading about it a few weeks ago. This judge is abusing the system, and making a mockery of the American judicial process. He should be disbarred, removed from his position as a judge, and forced to pay the attorneys fees of the defendants. Having said that, I am also saddened to see numerous comments from readers who see this lawsuit as an example of why our legal system is "broken." Being an attorney for nearly 15 years, I would emphatically say that this type of lawsuit is very uncommon (thus the reason we are reading about it here). We live in a great country, and despite some loose cannons, we have the best legal system in the world. It is a system that gives everyone a voice--even those who seek to abuse that privilege. Yes, that opens the doors to idiots like Roy Pearson, who make a mockery of what we hold so dear, but that is a price we pay for the freedom to have our voice heard. Before you write the system off as being "broken," please allow for the possibility (or even certainty) that Judge Pearson will not only lose his lawsuit, but will also likely suffer professional consequences as well. Before this is over, we may well look at this case as an example of the system doing exactly what it should do: let Judge Pearson be heard, deny him his outrageous demands, and then make him compensate the unfortunate defendants for what he put them through."
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the Original Story from Washing Post
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By Marc Fisher;
When the neighborhood dry cleaner misplaced Roy Pearson's pants, he took action. He complained. He demanded compensation. And then he sued. Man, did he sue. Two years, thousands of pages of legal documents and many hundreds of hours of investigative work later, Pearson is seeking to make Custom Cleaners pay -- would you believe more than the payroll of the entire Washington Nationals roster? 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. Pearson is demanding $65,462,500.
ABOVE: Jin Nam Chung and Ki Chung stand inside of their dry cleaning business, Custom Cleaners, in
The original alteration work on the pants cost $10.50. By the way, Pearson is a lawyer. Okay, you probably figured that. But get this: He's a judge, too -- an administrative law judge for the
Back to the beginning. 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
ABOVE: The disputed pants
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. At this point, I should let you in on the subject of hundreds of pages of legal wrangling. Custom Cleaners at that time had two big signs on its walls. One said "Satisfaction Guaranteed," and the other said, "Same Day Service." This, he says, amounts to fraud, negligence and a scam. A week after that routine mishap -- pants go astray all the time at cleaners -- Soo Chung came up with gray trousers that she said were Pearson's. But when the judge said that he had dropped off pants with red and blue pinstripes, there was no joy in
How does he get 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. A pant leg here, a pant leg there, and soon, you're talking $65 million. The case, set for trial in June, is on its second judge. The Chungs have removed the signs upon which Pearson's case rests. "This case shocks me on a daily basis," Manning says. "Pearson has a lot of time on his hands, and the Chungs have been abused in a ghastly way. It's going to cost them tens of thousands to defend this case."
A judge in the case has admonished Pearson about his take-no-prisoners tactics. When Pearson sought to broaden the case to try to prove violations of consumer protection laws on behalf of all District residents, D.C. Superior Court Judge Neal Kravitz said that "the court has significant concerns that the plaintiff is acting in bad faith" because of "the breathtaking magnitude of the expansion he seeks." Pearson has put the Chungs and their attorneys to work answering long lists of questions, such as this: "Please identify by name, full address and telephone number, all cleaners known to you on May 1, 2005 in the District of Columbia, the United States and the world that advertise 'SATISFACTION GUARANTEED.' " In the world; The answer: "None." In a closet of a lawyer's office in downtown
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Judge sues cleaner for $65M over pants;
By LUBNA TAKRURI; ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER
"This has destroyed their lives." The lawsuit was filed by a
Manning said the cleaners made three settlement offers to Pearson. First they offered $3,000, then $4,600, then $12,000. But Pearson wasn't satisfied and expanded his calculations beyond one pair of pants. Because Pearson no longer wanted to use his neighborhood dry cleaner, part of his lawsuit calls for $15,000 - the price to rent a car every weekend for 10 years to go to another business. "He's somehow purporting that he has a constitutional right to a dry cleaner within four blocks of his apartment," Manning said. But the bulk of the $65 million comes from Pearson's strict interpretation of D.C.'s consumer protection law, which fines violators $1,500 per violation, per day. According to court papers, Pearson added up 12 violations over 1,200 days, and then multiplied that by three defendants. Much of Pearson's case rests on two signs that Custom Cleaners once had on its walls: "Satisfaction Guaranteed" and "Same Day Service." Based on Pearson's dissatisfaction and the delay in getting back the pants, he claims the signs amount to fraud.
Pearson has appointed himself to represent all customers affected by such signs, though D.C. Superior Court Judge Neal Kravitz, who will hear the June 11 trial, has said that this is a case about one plaintiff, and one pair of pants. Sherman Joyce, president of the American Tort Association, has written a letter to the group of men who will decide this week whether to renew Pearson's 10-year appointment. Joyce is asking them to reconsider. Chief Administrative Judge Tyrone Butler had no comment regarding Pearson's reappointment. The association, which tries to police the kind of abusive lawsuits that hurt small businesses, also has offered to buy Pearson the suit of his choice. And former National Labors Relations Board chief administrative law judge Melvin Welles wrote to The Washington Post to urge "any bar to which Mr. Pearson belongs to immediately disbar him and the District to remove him from his position as an administrative law judge." "There has been a significant groundswell of support for the Chungs," said Manning, adding that plans for a defense fund Web site are in the works.
To the Chungs and their attorney, one of the most frustrating aspects of the case is their claim that Pearson's gray pants were found a week after Pearson dropped them off in 2005. They've been hanging in Manning's office for more than a year. Pearson claims in court documents that his pants had blue and red pinstripes.
"They match his inseam measurements. The ticket on the pants match his receipt," Manning said.
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Biography; Roy L. Pearson, Jr.; Administrative Law Judge
Roy L. Pearson, Jr. began serving as an Administrative Law Judge for the District of Columbia Office of Administrative Hearings on
Judge Pearson has been active in the
Judge Pearson earned his undergraduate degree from Lake Forest College. He earned his JD from Northwestern University School of Law. After graduation, he was first a graduate teaching fellow, and then assistant director, of a clinical program at the Georgetown University School of Law. The clinical program provided legal research, policy analysis and drafting assistance to committees of the Council of the
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Sherman Joyce: Judge Pearson, we will buy you a new suit
Since my organization, the American Tort Reform Association, works to limit this kind of abusive litigation that so hinders small and large businesses alike, we’re offering to raise the necessary funds to buy Pearson a high-quality suit of his choosing if he’ll just do the right thing. But since our generous offer may not do the trick, ATRA also wrote Monday to the four men who will decide this week if Pearson will be reappointed to a 10-year term with a handsome salary at taxpayers’ expense. Our letter to Chief Administrative Law Judge Tyrone Butler and the three men who make up the Commission on Selection and Tenure of Administrative Law Judges — Robert Rigsby, Henry Levine and Peter Wilner — read as follows:
Dear Judge Butler and Commissioners Rigsby, Levine and Wilner:
On behalf of the American Tort Reform Association, which works to combat lawsuit abuse, I urge you to carefully reconsider the reappointment of Roy Pearson Jr. to a 10-year term, scheduled to commence in three days on May 2. As you are almost surely aware by now, thanks to extensive local and national media coverage, Judge Pearson has chosen to exploit the District’s well-intentioned but loosely worded Consumer Protection and Procedures Act in suing a family-owned D.C. dry cleaner for more than $65 million — over a lost pair of suit pants. Though the pants have long since been found and made available to him, Judge Pearson has stubbornly continued to waste precious Superior Court resources in a clearly misguided effort to extort a hardworking family that provides a service to its community and tax revenue to the District government.
In a letter to the editor in today’s Washington Post, former National Labors Relations Board chief administrative law judge Melvin Welles urged “any bar to which Mr. Pearson belongs to immediately disbar him and the District to remove him from his position as an administrative law judge.” To those of us who carefully study the litigation industry’s growing abuse of consumer protection laws around the country (see ATRA general counsel Victor Schwartz’s recent article from Executive Counsel magazine, “Consumer Protection Acts Are a Springboard for Lawsuit Abuse,” enclosed) and to everyday D.C. taxpayers who collectively provide Pearson with a considerable salary, his persistence in this lawsuit raises serious question about his capacity to serve the city as a “fair, impartial, effective, and efficient” judge, as required by the Office of Administrative Hearings Establishment Act.
If Pearson goes ahead with his lawsuit, any party who comes before him in future administrative hearings could understandably lack confidence in his judgment and judicial temperament. Furthermore, this case will become fodder for late-night comics, various members of Congress and other assorted critics of D.C. government if this case, scheduled for trial June 11, remains in the headlines. Judicial temperament is a critical characteristic of an outstanding jurist. Any individual who chooses to pursue a case such as Pearson’s, at a minimum, calls into question his or her’s. As you consider his reappointment, we strongly urge you to examine closely his judicial temperament and decide whether it is sufficient to serve the people of the
properly as an administrative law judge. District of Columbia
Sherman Joyce is president of the American Tort Reform Association, based in