Judge Suing Dry Cleaner For $54 Million Cries In Court

According to the Washington Post, Judge Roy “Fancy Pants” Pearson cried when he recalled the moment he was handed the wrong pants by a DC dry cleaner. You’ll recall that Pearson is suing the dry cleaner for $54 million dollars, alleging signs reading “Satisfaction Guaranteed” and “Same Day Service” constituted consumer fraud. From the Washington Post:

“Never before in recorded history have a group of defendants engaged in such misleading and unfair business practices,” Pearson said in his opening statement. You don’t get a lot of firsts in recorded history in D.C. Superior Court, though I should add that Marion Barry was in the building for his day in traffic court, and the pants suit easily outdrew the ex-mayor-for-life.

It gets better. One of Fancy Pants Pearson’s witnesses testified, comparing the Mom and Pop dry cleaner to Nazi Germany:

“At 89, I’m not ready to be chased,” she said. “But I was in World War II as a WAC, so I think I can take care of myself. Having lived in Germany and knowing the people who were victims of the Nazis, I thought he was going to beat me up. I thought of what Hitler had done to thousands of Jews.”

Wait. It gets better.

Pearson paused. He struggled to breathe deeply. He could not continue. Pearson blurted a request for a break, stood up, turned around and walked out of the courtroom, tears dripping from his full and reddened eyes.

When he returned, he called that moment when Chung offered him the wrong pants “a Twilight Zone experience,” and again, he welled up and had to halt the proceedings. Pearson wanted to submit the remainder of his testimony in writing, but Judge Bartnoff wouldn’t hear of it.

Wait, we can’t take it anymore, it’s too funny. You’ll have to read the rest on your own.—MEGHANN MARCO

Judge Who Seeks Millions for Lost Pants Has His (Emotional) Day in Court [Washington Post]
(Photo: Inside Edition)

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  1. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    Can we sue this jerk-off for how much bandwidth he’s wasting? I believe it’s worth oh…$54 million or so.

  2. BillyShears says:

    This guy has GOT to meet the Starbucks raspberry syrup guy. It’ll be a whole new era in lawsuits.

  3. faust1200 says:

    On what fucking planet is this guy a judge? I have 3 words for ‘your honor’ Haggar Action Slacks. Case dismissed!

  4. jerseyjokeboy says:

    Is this entire case a joke? I mean, seriously, why hasn’t this been thrown out yet? It’s one thing to be stupid enough to sue for millions over a pair of pants, but when another judge in court allows this sort of thing to go on, that is just insane! I just hope there is a typo there somewhere, and he is really suing for 54 dollars, not 54 million.

  5. jeff303 says:

    What a coincidence, I’m weeping too! For our country, that is.

  6. Dustbunny says:

    Soooo…obviously there isn’t a sanity test required before one becomes a judge, considering this guy’s a few ants short of a picnic.

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

    Roy Pearson doesn’t need $54 million, he needs therapy. It’s bad enough when ordinary people clog up our judicial system with BS like this…nevermind an administrative judge.

    I hope he gets disbarred, disrobed, and censured. What a world…what a world…..

  8. umonster says:

    When I first heard about this case, I thought Pearson was a typical power mad assclown. Now, it’s apparent that he’s insane. I can’t believe no one’s put a stop to this. It’s a disgrace on so many levels.

  9. Slytherin says:

    “My pants!!! My pants!!! WHY?!?!”, Pearson cried and looked up to the heavens in court as he recalled his now deceased love.

  10. PKnel says:

    And that’s why they want to reform tort law.

  11. mackjaz says:

    “NOOOO! Take Me, God. Let my pants live!!!”

  12. Secularsage says:

    Hopefully, it’s only going on so that the judge can rule that the case was decided against Pearson fairly and that it can never be reopened. Here’s to hoping he ALSO orders Pearson to pay all legal fees and a big fat FINE for dragging this out.

  13. Secularsage says:

    From a Reuters article:

    “”Economically, emotionally, and health-wise as well, it’s been extremely hard for us,” Chung said through an interpreter as she broke down crying. It has cost tens of thousands of dollars to defend against the lawsuit, with a quarter of that covered by donations, a spokeswoman said.”

    Yikes. Where do I donate?

    Source: [www.reuters.com]

  14. AnnieGetYourFun says:

    I THINK the presiding judge is a woman. That’s how NPR put it anyway.

    Just sayin’.

  15. AnnieGetYourFun says:
  16. ironchef says:

    Tip for Judge Roy “Fancy Pants” Pearson….the neckbrace you plan to wear to win sympathy points isn’t working either.

  17. homerjay says:

    Someone important needs to step forward and represent these people and lend them their financial backing. Where the hell is Al Sharpton when we need him!?

  18. Slytherin says:

    @ironchef: Ha ha! And watch him come to the courthouse in a wheelchair with his leg in a cast, too!

  19. Katie says:

    The CEO of the national trial lawyers association had nothing but scathing criticism for Pearson’s suit. If even the head of the trial lawyers calls his lawsuit frivolous and abusive, well… you think he’d take the hint. I’m surprised his precious pants didn’t just burst into flames while he squeezed out those crocodile tears.

  20. AnnieGetYourFun says:

    As has been pointed out, this couple’s insurance should cover these lawsuits. As someone who personally knows some dry-cleanin’ Koreans, dry cleaners get sued a LOT. Over really dumb shit. But insurance covers it. At least, it should. I don’t know about upfront costs, though.

    It sounds like they are well-represented. I can’t imagine that the presiding judge is going to award this guy anything.

  21. Crazytree says:

    hmm… says 17 comments on front page…

    but none are visible.

    AND the comment script ate one of my comments on the Seattle lactose-intolerant raspberry-latte-sipping life-partners.

  22. gamble says:

    Wait. Is this real? Because I thought I was just reading an SNL sketch.

  23. acambras says:

    This is why the terrorists hate us.

  24. dorkbear says:

    I’d like to see Judge Judy preside over this case. Probably be done by now…

  25. oldhat says:

    @PKnel: No you fool, they want to “reform” to protect corporations from getting their asses handed to them after getting sued for honest, legitimate reasons by good people.

    But they will use this asshole as an excuse. Sort of like how a racist will try to justify hating all Mexicans by focusing in on that one lazy, violent, drunken bum he met that banged his mother.

    Understand?

  26. oldhat says:

    My theory is that the Judge presiding over the case is letting him embarrass himself.

    Sort of like “give him enough rope and he’ll hang himself” saying.

    And it’s true, he’s the assclown of the week, making a mockery of himself and everything he stands for.

    We need some type of vigilant justice crew, underground sort-of, to take care of this shit. No (neccessarily) to kill people. Just to back up a dump truck and pile 2 tons of used clothes on this guys front door in the middle of the night.

    Or 100 people show up at his work and take their pants off and throw it at him. Prank call him nightly. Email him incessantly. Billboards. spraypaint. Fight club shit.

  27. royal72 says:

    can we sue this cunt pump for wasting our tax dollars? no seriously i mean it.

  28. Namrepus says:

    I can’t wait to hear about this guy being disbarred as a judge because of this suit.

    How the hell do you cry over a pair of pants?!

  29. nucleotide says:

    We’ll there you have it, why our legal system is screwed! It employs and tolerates jerks that waste our tax dollars using the system oppress people they don’t like. That judge should immediately be disbarred along with all the RIAA-MPAA a$$hats as well.

  30. skotech says:

    Them sure is some nice pants! HA!

    Next he’ll claim the pants were handed down to him from generations ago. Wonder if the pants have a “made in china” tag.

    That my friends would make it funnier.

    Maybe the judge can punish him by making him work at the dry cleaners. After being dis-barred of course.

  31. Jesse in Japan says:

    Oh my god… that lady actually said, “Thousands of Jews.” I think she’s off by about three of four digits there.

  32. Dustbunny says:

    @Slytherin & mackjaz:

    You’ve inspired me to create another LOLpeep:

    [consumerist.proboards88.com]

  33. OggJoshua says:

    You see, it had been Mr. Pearson’s lifelong dream to be a banker, and just the day before, he had been turned down by another bank…

  34. SOhp101 says:

    @homerjay: The plaintiff is Black. The defendant is Korean. Call me racist but I doubt Al Sharpton would be on the defendant’s side.

  35. RebekahSue says:

    I’m wondering: if Pearson is suing the Chungs on behalf of every resident of the District of Columbia, will he split the settlement evenly (after his third for the first $300K and then what, 25% next? I don’t remember the proper breakdown for contingency cases over $300,000…)?

  36. Youthier says:

    I missed the memo that Pearson’s witness and DS-MAX must have got about comparing life’s hardships to the Holocaust being “in” again.

  37. Secularsage says:

    @Dorkbear

    Interestingly enough, the judge’s name is Judith:

    TRIAL UPDATE: The Pearson v. Chung trial concluded on June 13, 2007. Presiding Judge Judith Bartnoff has indicated that she will produce a verdict sometime during the week of June 18, 2007.

    So I guess, in a way, there is a Judge Judy presiding. Hopefully, she’s just as mean :-)

    Though I would love to see the television Judge Judy rip this guy a new one…

  38. superbmtsub says:

    It wont hurt for the court to investigate his finances. Check out and see if he owes a ton of money to corporations or debts. Mebbe he bought a new jet or a yatch? Or mebbe he’s plannin on using that money to fund al quaida?

    Or mebbe he’s jus tryin to waste everybody’s time and cause more backlogs in cases being overheard by the judge? A family member get in trouble with the law and is awaiting a judge trial?

    All very suspicious unless of course he’s lost it.

  39. Kaien says:

    This really reminds me of a scenario in “The Practice.”
    Steve Young’s character, Eugene, had problems with a dry cleaner and his suit was messed up and the cleaner called him fat…

    I think this is just silly though, crying over a pair of pants. He is in his 50s, right? I’m surprised he even complains over such a thing. I also don’t see why it was 60m+ to begin with, and then lower to 54m, it is still a ridiculous charge.
    He must especially hate these cleaners, and well with all that money he could just find some professional cleaning equipment instead of suing a poor cleaner’s shop, so he wouldn’t have to deal with them if he hates them so.

  40. asherchang says:

    how did nazis get involved in this?

  41. SanguinePony says:

    “I thought of what Hitler had done to thousands of Jews.”

    Surely there must be a Godwin precedent somewhere in the legal system?

  42. @asherchang: Trying to figure that one out myself…

  43. bnissan97 says:

    Is this case frivolous? Yes. How the person got to be judge, well those responsible should be ashamed. HOWEVER how many times have people been treated rudely by cleaners of the sort? Many. I hope this sends a ripple effect through America so cleaners of the sort think twice about how they treat customers.

  44. lestat730 says:

    What the hell is wrong with this guy! I find it deeply disturbing that this man is a judge, I think he should seriously consider sentencing himself to a mental institution for a good long time and permanently leave our wonderful court system. I would be very afraid to be before this judge even for a simple traffic ticket!

  45. EtherealStrife says:

    He’s laughing so hard (on the inside) that he’s crying. When he can’t control it, he leaves the courtroom.

    I thought of what Hitler had done to thousands of Jews.

    Little known fact: Hitler was in the dry cleaning business. He got his kicks out of losing the pants of his Jewish patrons.

  46. RagingTowers says:

    “Wait, those aren’t my pants…OH GOD WHAT HAVE YOU DONE!!!” *falls into bizarro world*

  47. Major-General says:

    @lestat730:

    So all cleaners that treat people rudely should be sued? The Chungs offered to replace the pants, plus money, and last I read before the case went to trial was an offer for $12K as compensation.

    Let us know if that’s not enough compensation for a pair of pants. They weren’t made of vicuña after all.

  48. Havok154 says:

    I really hope mr fancy pants is only doing this to show America how badly our judicial system is broken by letting these kinds of cases go to court in the first place. You know, to make a statement in hope of reform….ok, he’s just a freaking loon.

  49. noopinion says:

    I heard about this case a while ago. I thought it a bit strange, but assumed-seemingly unlike many-that there’s more than meets the eye.
    The linked article seems to indicate that the folks don’t take too kindly to having their work challenged. So perhaps in some way they are not the victims that many seem to want to portray them as.

    I suspect that the judge is not suing for the money, but to put them out of business. Everyone always sues for a dollar amount, settles and then say they hope it will serve as a lesson to the offender. But I’ve always wondered why people don’t sue ‘evil’ doctors and ‘eco-villans’ into bankruptcy and failed existence.

    If he sued for the cost of the pants, the cleaner would likely be annoyed, but unaffected. I heard on the news that the judge filed a complaint to which the family did not respond, and thus the lawsuit for the $60+ million ensued.

    It’s worth pointing out that even if he won, they likely would not be able to pay him the requested amount. I doubt their insurance company would accept the ruling. It would most likely be appealed so that he didn’t see any money anyway.

    I think this one may be about principle.

  50. @oldhat: “My theory is that the Judge presiding over the case is letting him embarrass himself.”

    You’re correct. From reading testimony and decisions from the judge in this case, it appears that she (the presiding judge) decided that he was going to continue to harass the legal system with this issue (and continue to harass the dry cleaners) until he got his day in court. She’s been super-thorough through the entire trial and is taking the somewhat unusual step of issuing her ruling in written format, so that the Pants Jackass will have no grounds for appeal and so that every i is dotted and every t is crossed.

    Regarding his generalized jackassery and apparent failure to understand even the most basic principles of law:

    There’s been a lot of chatter in the DC law lists that he might a) get fired, b) lose his law license, and/or c) face various other sanctions. The feeling in the DC and NoVA bars (my husband’s a member of both) is that he’s an embarassment and should clearly not be practicing law, let alone serving as any kind of judge.

    On a totally different note, having read some of the testimony, I do seriously wonder if the man is mentally ill and in need of treatment. I know lawyers who, once offended, will be appeased by nothing less than a scorched-earth lawsuit that destroys the person who dared offend them. But this seems to go beyond that, particularly how he keeps trying to relitigate his divorce (Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?) in this courtroom and goes off on long rambling, disconnected diatribes about the law, policy, his testimony, etc.

    And inability to follow a judge’s instructions or take a judge’s hints is a dangerous sign of disconnection from reality in a lawyer! ;)

  51. cindel says:

    Must be some pair of pants!!

  52. Kloud says:

    @mackjaz: And all this time, we don’t even know what kind of pants they were. :(.

  53. Jon Parker says:

    @oldhat: @PKnel: No you fool, they want to “reform” to protect corporations from getting their asses handed to them after getting sued for honest, legitimate reasons by good people.

    You nailed it. Tort reform is a sham. No one thinks lawsuits like this are a good idea, but it’s no excuse for removing one of the few protections that consumers have.

  54. levenhopper says:

    @asherchang, @Papa Midnight: In the second quote listed above, they compare Hitler and Nazi Germany to the pain he thinks this dry-cleaning mistake caused him.

  55. Sir Winston Thriller says:

    The pants in question were from a blue and maroon suit. The dry cleaner didn’t commit a crime in losing the pants; they did the judge a favor.

  56. dwarf74 says:

    HA! Pearson’s witness Godwin’d the trial!

  57. anatak says:

    Can we give Roy a Daytime Emmy and call it a day?

  58. skittlbrau says:

    @Kloud: They were the pants to a Hickey Freeman suit. Depending on cut/material, the suit would be about $1000-$2000 to replace.

  59. tkozikow says:

    Hey, Pearson claims to be a consumer advocate since $51M will be reserved to help other DC residents fight similar injustices. He is only claiming $3M for his legal costs and personal damages.

  60. jeffj-nj says:

    I had hoped, and I suppose a part of me still does, that the Mr. Fancy Pants (brilliant name, btw) is of completely sound mind and body. You see, in my fantasy world, he fully recognizes the absurdity of his actions, and is using them to demonsrate just how desperately the court system in this country needs changing. He is a hero – yes, that’s right, a hero! – for being so willing to throw himself on his sword (as he will almost certainly lose his job when all is said and done) just to prove his point. Bravo, sir. Bra. Vo.

    Or he’s completely bat-shit insane and should be locked up in a small rubber room while the Chungs light his pants on fire in front of a paying audiance.

    Could go either way.

  61. jeffj-nj says:

    On a completely different note, there’s a huge piece of information in that article which we have all clearly overlooked.

    “The courtroom was packed with members of the Korean Dry Cleaners Association”

    There’s a KDCA? Seriously? Wow.

  62. Brilluminati says:

    Never, never, ever, ever, ever, get between a judge and his pants.

    If he wins, I’m going to start going to all the dry cleaners down here in Florida in the hopes of getting the wrong pants back.

    I’ll settle for way less out of court 1 million…I’ll be rich!!! [evil laugh]

  63. Skiffer says:

    “And Pearson, who by his account has spent more than 1,400 hours preparing his case…

    Pearson has reduced his claim to $54 million. But he told the judge that he also wants to be awarded attorney’s fees, even though he represents himself. He would like to be paid at a rate of between $390 and $425 an hour.”

    1,400 x $400 = $560,000

    What a fucking douche….

  64. @Brilluminati: “Never, never, ever, ever, ever, get between a judge and his pants.”

    Unless you are a hooker.

  65. Pelagius says:

    @faust1200: On what fucking planet is this guy a judge?

    Planet DC, home of the Marion Barry Exam for Public Service.

  66. bastarre says:

    @asherchang:

    I guess Godwin’s Law now applies to the courts as well as the internets.

    This guy is F’in looney. This is just so mind boggling, however, I thought in civil cases everybody gets their day in court–insane or not. I sat on the jury in a civil trial that was just about on par with this one…smaller dollar amounts though…what a waste of a week.

  67. Venkman says:

    I love the Nazi comment follow up in the Washington Post article:

    “An 89-year-old woman in a wheelchair told of being chased out of the cleaners by an angry owner… She compared the owners of Custom Cleaners in open court to Nazis.

    ‘I knew it: It’s all my fault,’ said the reporter from German television.”

    I hope they shove those pants right up that judge’s ass.

  68. skotech says:

    Imagine if this Fruit wins the case? HA!

    How on earth did this guy get to become a judge? Is the system that F’d up?

  69. Jerim says:

    The judge is letting this move forward as a matter of procedure. All that is required to go to trial is a charge with “some” evidence to back it up. The charge here is that the dry cleaner is committing fraud when they say “100% satisfaction.” On that issue, the plaintiff may have a point. If a company says 100% Guarantee, must they stand by it, even if the complaint is ridiculous?

    Now the amount he is seeking in damages is irrelevant. Yes the plaintiff is being a tool, but the damages will be awarded by the judge or the jury, depending on the state. The dry cleaner could be at fault here since appearantly they don’t guarantee 100% satisfaction, regardless of what the sign says. I think it is the amount in damages that is being sought, which has everyone laughing. The guy may entitled to $100 for his troubles, and the dry cleaner should be fined if they are indeed misleading customers. But that is all that should and will happen.

  70. Mary says:

    All I know is there’s no way this isn’t the True Stella Awards winner for 2007. I can’t imagine another lawsuit being this insane.

    I’m actually anxiously awaiting their writeup of the case. (www.truestellaawards.com if anybody is interested)

  71. SharkJumper says:

    This case is insane for one reason only:

    Judges, like tollbooth workers and news reporters, don’t wear pants!

  72. Saboth says:

    @noopinion:

    It’s about principle? So if a company burns your burger, messes up your haircut or loses a pair of your pants, that allows you to totally destroy their whole family’s means of support and their lives as well? Puh-LEASE! You are entitled to a replacement, and that’s IT! This whole county needs a damn wakeup call. The world doesn’t revolve around you, you don’t deserve to be a millionaire, and the customer isn’t always right. The only thing anyone deserves is something they work for…and a pair of pants might be $100.

    If anything, the drycleaners and taxpayers should get a refund…on the money and time this asshat has wasted.

  73. legalreform says:

    As you are undoubtedly aware, a $54 million lawsuit was recently brought in DC District Court against a small neighborhood drycleaners over a pair of alleged lost trousers. While the Court found resoundingly in favor of the business owners, Jin and Soo Chung, their ordeal is not yet over-they have drained their saving accounts contesting this frivolous lawsuit, and they have racked up over $100,000 in legal expenses.

    In order to help the Chungs defray their legal bills, ILR and the American Tort Reform Association are co-hosting a fundraiser on Tuesday evening, July 24 at 6 p.m. at the US Chamber Building in Washington, DC. Unfortunately, businesses large and small across America must deal every day with similar extortionist tactics from some plaintiffs’ lawyers. The collective outcome is not justice, but lost jobs, ruined businesses and billions of dollars in lost economic opportunity. Additional details, sponsorship opportunities and easy online registration are available at http://www.chungfundraiser.com.