Despite Winning $54 Million Pants Lawsuit, Drycleaner Shutters

The ordeal of battling the $54 million lawsuit over a pair of pants finally got to the DC drycleaners and they’ve closed up shop.

Business hasn’t recovered since the crazed judge put up defamatory fliers around their neighborhood, despite winning the initial case. Just goes to show that sometimes proactive consumers go too far, way too far, though the reality is most of the times they don’t go far enough.

Not that we’re saying “Fancy Pants” Pearson was justified in what he did. Far from it. He’s a jerk. This story has a “bad consumer” tag. Beyond the simple fact that he was WRONG to begin with, he violated a cardinal rule of good consumerism. The amount of time and money he poured into trying to “get what he deserved” far outweighed the initial cost of whatever offense he felt the drycleaner had caused.

[Washington Post] (Thanks to Garry!)
(Photo: Jacquelyn Martin)


Edit Your Comment

  1. blue_duck says:

    What had happened to promt the lawsuit to begin with?

  2. faust1200 says:

    Lol. Meg and Ben posted the same story. I guess we have to choose between mommy and daddy now.

  3. 3drage says:

    I liked the use of fancypants in the other one better.

  4. warf0x0r says:

    @blue_duck: They either wrecked or lost his pants and of corse a dry cleaners take no responsibility for damaged or lost items, which IMHO is really bad for consumers, but w/e. So he sued them for damages and pain and anguish all that crap.

    The judge was trying to make a statement. He didn’t need the 54 million he was just sick of lost or damaged articles with no recourse.

  5. @warf0x0r: The dry cleaners offered over $1,000. How is that “no recourse”?

  6. Saboth says:

    Err they offered to pay for the pants, and I think even thousands of dollars. I don’t care if he was sick of lost items or if McDonalds spilled hot coffee on him or what. There is a serious problem with our legal system that allows something like this to go to court. At most, he should get a replacement item, it should have taken someone all of 10 minutes to decide this…not thousands of dollars in legal fees and tax dollars. So what, you work at Burger King and your hand got cut off at an amusement park. You should get like 20k tops. You weren’t contributing much to society anyhow, and you can still flip burgers. The payouts should reflect what was lost. All these million dollar frivolous lawsuits are ridiculous.

  7. cryrevolution says:

    @warf0x0r: They didn’t damage or lose his pants. They had them-even offered to give his pants back plus various monetary sums to make up for his troubles. Read the original story. They had the same pants in the shop but the judge just wanted to be an a**hole and sue. He’s not trying to make a statement-he honestly thinks he will win. If it was a statement he wouldn’t be appealing the original decision.

  8. mikesfree says:

    Crazy, you missed the part that they own more than this shop, and they are keeping another one open.

    I would have capitalized on the deal. My drycleaner shop would be known as “Home of the 54 million dollar pants”

  9. @Rectilinear Propagation: According to [] the settlement offer was $12,000

  10. blue_duck says:

    @3drage: True, this one does win out, however I must say that I am extremely pleased with the fact that I’ve seen “fancy pants” twice in one day!!

  11. blue_duck says:

    @mikesfree: I’m not too sure on how well one can capitalize by basically saying “Someone sued us for $54 mil. Come see if you’re the next winner!”

  12. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    Pearson, who did not respond to a request to comment, is still technically a D.C. administrative law judge, but the panel that decides on reappointments has notified him that it intends to cut him loose.

    It’s pathetic that a judge would carry out such a frivolous lawsuit. Maybe being a judge gave him a power trip and he thought he was infallible. Whatever his reasons were, at least he won’t be reappointed. I hope he enjoys his new career at McDonalds.

  13. Odwalla says:

    @Saboth: The loss of a major appendage is worth less than the cost of an average priced car in America? A person who is working at Burger King isn’t “contributing much to society”? How do you justify coming up with such disgusting and arbitrary statements?

    In case no one has ever had the chance to tell you this….you’re scum.

  14. CumaeanSibyl says:

    Defamatory fliers leading to business shutdown, eh? There’s a legitimate lawsuit in that if they’re not heartily sick of the legal system (which, you know, I wouldn’t blame them if they are).

    I still want to know how Pearson knew that the pants they offered him weren’t his pants. He apparently wasn’t able to prove in court that there was any difference whatsoever, but damn it, he knew they weren’t his. Delusional?

  15. eross says:

    I know there are frivolous lawsuits that cause real problems for small business, but this whole case smells like an elaborate propaganda stunt put on by the US Chamber, Business Roundtable, or other corporate forces that perpetually seek to undermine the civil justice system. Everything in the case is just too perfectly outrageous.

  16. CumaeanSibyl says:

    @Odwalla: Yeah, I was with him on the frivolous-lawsuit thing until the $20K showed up. Ooh, ooh, tell me how much I’m worth to society next!

  17. ry81984 says:

    Next time don’t loose your customers pants?!?

    There should be no reason to loose a pair of pants!!!

  18. Parting says:

    This ”judge” should be banned from practicing any king of law.
    He sued a small dry cleaners, not a corporation.
    I’m sure this **ssh*le just wanted to drive them out of business and out of their savings, not for the money, but for the power trip.

    @ WARF0X0R
    Destroying people lives, that what judge did, not making a statement. Plus, he’s appealing. That means more stress and sleepless nights for owners.

    When dry cleaner screws up (to err is human), as long as they pay the replacement value for the pants, they shouldn’t get sued.

    I would hate to be ”judged” by this judge.

    I’m sure there is a special place in hell reserved just for him.

  19. killavanilla says:

    How sad for them…
    I don’t expect that Judge Pearson will have his job when they finish the investigation into his behavior.
    He tarnished the legal community with this and as such is at risk for losing his job.
    An administrative law judge is supposed to stop frivolous lawsuits as part of their function.
    I wonder if they will file suit against him for financial damages…

  20. Parting says:


    Urgh, what kind of person would value a hand 20K ?
    So, how much you value his life? Eh?
    You want justice for the poor and another for the rich?

    Well, let’s cut yours and give you 20K and a job flipping burgers. We’ll see how easy it is with 1 hand going through life.

    (And a some kind of medical replacement for a limb could go easily in 100Ks)

  21. cryrevolution says:

    @RY81984: Buhjaysus people! For those who are still saying they lost his pants, they didn’t lose his pants. They had them right in the store, same serial #, same size, same brand. This judge was just craaaazy enough and yes delusional enough to swear up and down they weren’t his pants. The dry cleaners even offered to give him a) his own pants back and b) money for his troubles.

  22. B says:

    In all fairness, if they hadn’t lost/destroyed his pants in the first place, they would still be in business.

  23. OnceWasCool says:

    Remember the morning sickness pills? They worked great, but so many lawsuits. Although they never lost a single one, the cost of defending it over and over again made is non-profitable.

    Don’t blame them for shutting down.

  24. pcvirgil says:


    Imagine that if all that was rewarded reflected what was lost. Than companies would take that as part of doing business. “He is only a burger boy, we can afford 20k a few times a year”. These lawsuits are not to replace what was lost, they are to tell the offender that they cannot continue to this, or else they will loose big money. It is to prevent bad things from happening. So, if you get a speeding ticket for $300 it reflects what was lost? Nothing was lost, but it will make you think twice about speeding and potentially cause great harm. Sure lawsuits are to compensate for what was lost, but also to act as a deterrent from doing the same thing in the future.

  25. pcvirgil says:

    These lawsuits are not ONLY to replace what was lost, they are to tell the offender that they cannot continue to this, or else they will loose big money.

  26. Canadian Impostor says:

    Lose people. Lose. Not loose, lose.

  27. topgun says:

    B, in all fairness it’s a freakin’ pair of pants!!!!!!!!!!!

  28. RvLeshrac says:


    Of course, that’s it exactly. We should expect businesses to NEVER make mistakes, period. Any time a business makes a mistake, they should immediately be forced to close their doors.

    Give me a break. The only problem here would be if the dry cleaners refused to pay for the mistake. Instead, they not only found his pants, but also offered to pay for them originally. Then, they offered FAR more than a fair settlement when threatened with a lawsuit.

    I don’t think they could have possibly done any more here to make things right. The judge needs to be strung up.

  29. topgun says:

    In all fairness……… it’s a freakin’ pair of pants!!!!!!

  30. boreddusty says:


  31. mandarin says:

    Apparently the fatboy is appealing…

  32. arachnophilia says:

    defamatory fliers?

    they should countersue.

  33. ekthesy says:

    @Canadian Impostor:

    Is that how you spell it in Canadia?

  34. lincolnparadox says:

    These poor folks didn’t completely shut down. They’re down to one store, which is all they can handle due to the stress. Maybe they can open up again in Georgetown or Baltimore. Somewhere within commuting range of their home.

    They’re obviously good people, who tried to make right even though Crazy McLoonyjudge wouldn’t accept anything short of a $54 million cornholing.

    Personally, there should be a countersuit somewhere in this process.

  35. kenposan says:


    20K? More like $750K. Assuming the person was 18, retirement age at 72 and $7.00/hour. You forgot to calculate lost potential earnings. But I forgot to factor in cost of living/merit raises.

    /smell that, that’s sarcasm. asshat.

  36. boxjockey68 says:

    “Business hasn’t recovered since the crazed judge put up defamatory fliers around their neighborhood, despite winning the initial case.”

    Ummmmm I think it would depend on the exact wording, but I think they should speak to their lawyer about that, seems to me the act of putting up those types of fliers wasn’t a great move by the judge. They should seriously go after him.

  37. Sasquatch says:

    If I were them, I would definitely consider counter-suing. It sounds like this jagoff needs to be taken down a few more pegs.

  38. liquisoft says:

    They ought to sue the judge if they haven’t already. For defamation and whatnot. $54 million ought to cover their pain and suffering.

  39. warf0x0r says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation: Was that before or after the lawsuit?

  40. warf0x0r says:

    @Saboth: Yes I will, maybe I’m confusing this with something else.

  41. cde says:

    @chouchou: Technically, they are a corporation. LLC and all. Hell, they have more then one shop.

    @Ben’s Original Post: The amount of time and money he poured into trying to “get what he deserved” far outweighed the initial cost of whatever offense he felt the drycleaner had caused.
    No, because according to Judge McFrivolous, he truely did think he deserved 54 million for his pants.

  42. magus_melchior says:

    “I’ll sue ya, I’ll take all your money / I’ll sue ya, if you even look at me funny…”

    @arachnophilia: They’d probably have a case, but they can’t afford lawyers anymore.

  43. @warf0x0r: The $12,000 was a settlement offer so it was after the lawsuit began, which was after they found the pants and offered a smaller sum of money (I can’t find the dollar amount for that).

    I want to know where he’s taking his clothing to be cleaned now. I can’t imagine anyone else would take his business.

  44. Sudonum says:

    IIRC he claimed that he knew they weren’t his because they had cuffs, and he had only ever worn one pair of pants in his life with cuffs, and those weren’t them.