DC Judge Seeks $65 Million In Damages From Korean Cleaner

A DC judge has filed a $65 million suit against a Korean cleaner, claiming that signs promising “Satisfaction Guaranteed” and “Same Day Service” constitute consumer fraud. Roy Pearson was appointed to a DC judgeship, a job that requires a suit. The judge brought several suits to Custom Cleaners for alteration, but one pair of pants went missing. So the judge did what any reasonable DC judge might do; he sent the cleaner a different kind of suit: a law suit.

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 cleaner offered $12,000 to settle the case, but the judge refused. The original cost of the alteration: $10.50 — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER

Lawyer’s Price For Missing Pants: $65 Million [Washington Post]
(Photo: frogmuseum2)

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  1. Trick says:

    Hopefully the Washington Post article will put him in his place and this case will go away…

    Then again, this guy is a lawyer so greed will probably still overtake any embarrassment he is feeling now.

  2. scoobydoo says:

    Disbar and arrest for wasting the courts time.

  3. simian-fever says:

    The Post article would be more accurate if they replaced every mention of “DC judge” with “Asshole”.

    Who hasn’t lost at least one article of clothing at the dry cleaners?

  4. ColoradoShark says:

    Can his appointment to the bench be revoked? Clearly, suing a dry cleaning shop for $65 million shows bad judgment so he shouldn’t be judging.

    The dry cleaner offered to buy a new pair of pants for him originally, which sounds very reasonable.

    I read the original article. The judge wanted his pants let out two to three inches. Folks gain weight but expecting to be able to let pants out two or three inches also shows bad judgment.

    This is a very bad consumer, do not act like him.

  5. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    He deserves compensation for one pair of pants; no more, no less.

    People who bring frivolous lawsuits should be punished. There are plenty of legitimate consumer lawsuits in the courts without people clogging it up with suits that ask for 8-figure settlements arising from a $10 loss.

    Dude, it was a pair of pants. Get over it. This kind of thing coming from an ordinary person is bad enough, but it’s inexcusable from a judge.

  6. mattbrown says:

    who does this guy think he is, Eliot Spitzer?

  7. iddqd185 says:

    What’s the deal with refocusing the description of the dry cleaners to the fact that they’re Korean? I just find it a bit bizarre that this fact makes the headline here, while in the original WaPo article it was a little detail buried deep in the story.

    Either way, interesting catch, and you guys do great work.

  8. l951b951 says:

    “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers”

    William Shakespeare.

  9. red_devil2k2 says:

    I’ll echo iddqd185 up top. Adding the word “Korean” to the headline is just bizarre and wholly unnecessary.. what’s the point, here? Is the Greek cleaners down the street not losing peoples’ pants?

    Are we supposed to be angry with the judge for seemingly taking advantage of a minority-owned business?

    Please explain.

  10. SOhp101 says:

    Forget revocation and disbarment; this guy should be killed for being such a greedy bastard. Adequate compensation: a new pair of same/similar pants with free alterations and maybe free dry cleaning the next time around.

  11. OnoSideboard says:

    I’ll play Devil’s Advocate here: the DC Judge might not be as interested in money as he is in making a point. Refunding the cost of the pants does not create an incentive for the dry cleaning industry to take more precautions to avoid losing customers’ clothes. When you hand your clothes over to the dry cleaner, they are holding your clothes in bailment. They have a legal duty to return your clothes, just as your car mechanic has a legal duty to return your car. Yeah, it’s just a pair of pants, but if you heard about a mechanic that looses an average of one car per week, would this kind of lawsuit seem that unreasonable?

  12. NeoteriX says:

    My prediction: the trying judge awards “nominal damages” to the whiny DC judge, and calls it a day.

  13. WV.Hillbilly says:

    Clearly the judge is a douchekateer.

  14. NeoteriX says:

    @OnoSideboard:

    “Yeah, it’s just a pair of pants, but if you heard about a mechanic that looses an average of one car per week, would this kind of lawsuit seem that unreasonable?”

    =D Maybe it would have it was a mechanic that happens to deal with thousands of new cars each day

  15. dextrone says:

    HMMMM, THEY SHOULD DO THIS TO BEST BUY!!!!!

    {sorry for the caps; I just hate best buy like everyone else with a passion :) + I lost ~700$ with them…… }

  16. NeoteriX says:

    I’m sure best buy’s lawyers are not silly enough to put a “Satisfaction Guaranteed” sign which is what is getting this mom and pop outfit in trouble.

  17. jaredharley says:

    Wow – I get my suits at Men’s Warehouse (“You’ll like it, I guarantee it”) and they make alterations for free… Perhaps this judge needs to buy his suits somewhere nicer.

  18. mopar_man says:

    That has to be the ultimate douchebag asshole lawyer. Somebody should send him an award with that inscribed on it.

  19. iMike says:

    @OnoSideboard:
    It’s a bailment for hire. Duty is “extreme care.” Damages for breach are essentially the economic harm suffered by the aggrieved party, which in this case should be limited to the cost of the pants, plus a refund of the cost of service, if already paid.

    This case highlights an unintended consequence of consumer protection statutes, which have the effect of either imposing a higher duty, or artificially inflating damages.

    Plus this guy appears to be some kind of fucking lunatic.

    Then again, all plaintiffs are crazy; it’s just a matter of degree.

  20. Bourque77 says:

    @OnoSideboard: They tried to settle for $12,000. I wuold think that would have proven a point without wasting the courts time no? I read this over on fark and thought it was rediculous then, it still is. As I recall from reading they had a pair of paints they thought were his but he said they were. So I mean he might just be mistaken who knows. Either way he should have taken the 12k and shut up. Is it election time for him or something?

  21. lilyHaze says:

    I actually know the store owners in this article. I’m really glad that this finally got to the media (and hope the next judge closes the case). Like the article states, they were willing to settle for a reasonable amount several times (finding the missing pants, paying for the cost of the pants, and even settling for the outrageous sum of $12K). They’ve also lost lots of money (several tens of thousands of dollars) in attorney fees, etc.

    I also think it’s unbelievable to equate a missing/damaged car (which has a unique VIN) to an article of clothing (where many people can own the same style/size). Unless people want to institute a unique identifier that cannot be removed to every article of clothing, this kind of stuff is bound to happen.

  22. While the amount of this lawsuit is insane, I can’t say that I haven’t been incredibly pissed at an unprofessional dry cleaner before.

    I dropped some polo shirts off at a dry cleaner out here in Las Vegas, and went back 2 days later to pick them up. When I dropped them off, I warned the guy to do one shirt seperate, because it was new and would bleed on the others. The guy said that would be fine. When I went to pick them up, one of the shirts had streaks all over them (from the shirt that I said would bleed). They tried to reclean it, and couldn’t get the stain out.
    The guy who was working said I had to call the manager during the day. I called the manager the next day, and the guy yelled at me, saying I brought it in with the stains on it, and was trying to get money from them. He said he wouldn’t refund my cleaning money or pay for the shirt ($100). If I wanted to get any money from him, I would have to take him to court.

    I filed a complaint with the BBB, and tell my friends not to go there. I probably would have taken him to small claims had a different dry cleaner not been able to get the stains out (I now provide the new dry cleaner with approx. $150/month in personal cleaning).

    I don’t blame this judge (provided he really got screwed by a crappy cleaner, and isn’t just an asshole). Good for him. Maybe some dry cleaners will see this and realize they should take responsibilty for their actions, or lack of action.


    Moral of the story: find a good dry cleaners, even if they cost more, and tell all of your friends to go there too.

  23. gizcongawk says:

    Anyone remember the V-Tech shooting? Maybe the guy is picking on Koreans?

  24. jaewon223 says:

    Why is there emphasis of race with this article? I find that to be in very bad taste and poor journalism.

    Even if the dry cleaners lost your article of clothing, cmon $65 million? If the cleaners were willing to settle for $12k I think that’s MORE than enough for the trouble of getting new pants.

    And I agree that this judge’s position be very much reconsidered if he is the type to tie up courts with frivolous lawsuits and wasting people’s time. Oh yeah and for trying to sue for $65 million for a pair of pants too…

  25. ray210 says:

    Karma’s gonna get him — or a Korean-American gang (oh wait, this is DC, not LA – damn)

  26. MiikeJoNes says:

    12-inch Idongivafuck Sandwich:

    First you’re an idiot if you think in anyway a $65 million lawsuit for pants is justifiable. I had a part time job at a dry cleaners for long time when i was in college, did just about every function of job there. Asking your shirt to be washed separately is an unreasonable thing to ask a cleaners in first place because running the machines with only your shirt in it and charging you $4.50 or whatever for shirt, they would lose money on it… but it’s that cleaners fault for not telling you that and refusing to do so. If you read the article, the cleaners offered him reasonable compensation, then after the lawsuit offered him $12k. Cleaners go through thousands of pieces of clothing everyday and these things happen…And yes there are people that do not take responsibility, but these people doesn’t seem to be the case. The judge was pissed and is trying to ruin these people’s lives with the power that he has. If you think that’s justifiable just to make a point, you are just of a scum as that judge.

  27. sam24 says:

    This arrogant judge should have a lifetime ban from dry cleaners. he should wash all his clothings by hand.

  28. asherchang says:

    @l951b951: um…

  29. sparani says:

    Well ,, Moslem law is simple
    a lost pant should be replaced by a pant.

  30. uchari says:

    so what is the latest about this case… did he find his pants?