New York Dry Cleaner Sues Disgruntled Customer For $300,000

Todd Layne Cleaners on the Upper East Side filed a $300,000 defamation suit against disgruntled former customer Evan Maloney. The dry cleaner decided to “vigorously defend” itself after Maloney hung ten posters in his building decrying Todd Layne’s horrible customer service. Maloney lists five grievances:

  • Todd Layne promised same-day service until 8 p.m., but closed at 5:30 p.m. without offering an apology;
  • Todd Layne costs more than other cleaners on the block because they use environmentally friendly soap that caused Evan’s fiance to break out in hives;
  • Maloney received a batch of clothes that was still wet.
  • Todd Layne’s washed and ruined a cellphone Maloney had left in his shorts;
  • Todd Layne offered to accept package deliveries for people in Maloney’s building. Despite his negative experiences, Maloney accepted this service. Todd Layne accepted two packages, but refused delivery of the third.

Nothing major, certainly nothing that would drive us to print up posters. Just take your clothes to the other, cheaper cleaners on the block. Todd Layne’s response is equally ridiculous. Beyond the suit for $300,000, they have asked a judge to force Maloney to take down the website: A judge has already agreed to bar Maloney from entering the cleaners, an order beneficial to both parties.

Why are dry cleaners such litigation magnets?

Drycleaner Sues Unhappy Customer [Gothamist]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Buran says:

    What is it with beyond-common-sense lawsuits involving dry cleaners?

  2. n8srq says:

    Read the specific complaints on his web site. The dry cleaner claimed to offer special services including “checking pockets”. Obviously, they did not check the pocket that the cell phone was in. Also, they were tipped generously for accepting the first two packages before rejecting the third. I would be filing a counter suit immediately.

  3. oneswellfoop says:

    1) they should have apologized, but this looks like it’s New York, and what do you expect? New Yorkers are assholes.
    2) Sometimes enviro friendly stuff costs more, in fact, it usually does. It’s not the cleaners fault his fiance had a reaction to the soap, that happens. People have reactions to makeup all the time, and they switch brands.
    3) It happens, boo-hoo. An apology is in order, but again, that’s New York for you. Don’t like it? Move elsewhere.
    4) If you were a dry cleaners and received hundreds or thousands of pieces of clothing per day to be laundered, would YOU go through every pocket? Or would you expect your customers to be competent enough to not leave expensive electronics in the pockets of things that are going to be cleaned?
    5) Perhaps the third package required a signature or involved some sort of liability that the shop was uncomfortable with. A dick-head thing to do, but see above comments about New York. Unless he was paying them for the service of receiving the packages for him, they are under no actual obligation to do so.

    Sounds like a personal grievance that elicited the posters after a negative verbal exchange. Breathe and count to ten.

  4. EvilSquirrel says:

    If the guy has real grievances with the service of the cleaners, more power to him. I just hope that he is able to recover his legal fees. People need to realize that if you make your customers angry, they have a right to tell other people the circumstances of what you did, in their opinion. I’m sick of these lawsuits where someone gets sued because a person or company thinks they can silence a critic brutish legal means.

    On the other hand, I hope the dry cleaner gets some kind of compensation if this guy is making false claims in order to hurt the reputation of the business. Still, $300,000 seems excessive.

    Either way, I just hope the legal system makes the proper decisions.

  5. orielbean says:

    They are magnets because they cater to mostly professional people who have expensive suits to dry clean. These are the same people who file lots of legal suits.

  6. Luckie says:

    @oneswellfoop: So, basically, everyone from New York is a jerk and it’s okay because people should expect to be treated that way if they live in New York…? I really don’t think so.

    If the dry cleaning service really did do all that the man said they did, the man has every right to make posters and a website if he wants, even if someone else thinks it’s a bit silly.

  7. Maulleigh says:

    I hope his fiancee is taking some serious notes and gets a big pre-nup. This guy is nuts. If I was that cleaners, I’d sue too.

  8. Maulleigh says:

    @oneswellfoop: I think New Yorkers are quite nice. I’ve been a lot of places and New York does not cover the market on assholes by any extreme.

  9. cryrevolution says:

    They’re both idiots. The guy that put up posters (just go to the other cleaners!) & the dry cleaners for suing for $300,000. Both are absolutely ridiculous.

  10. crackblind says:

    This was hashed out on Gothamist earlier in the week
    Seems he kept going back for more of the “lousy” service. After two problems, maybe he should have switched dry cleaners. At a certain point, a consumer should use common sense and stop shopping at a store that is not providing an adequate level of service.

  11. Anonymous says:

    what kind of packages are you having delivered that can’t just be brought to you? sounds like the package service is set up for illegals to have an adress.

  12. Anonymous says:

    how is hanging up the flyers not protected under first amendment?

  13. comedian says:

    The poster-poster is a film maker and owner of


  14. camille_javal says:

    @INconsumer: It’s if you’re at work and you don’t have a doorman, and you can’t get the company delivering to just leave the package for whatever reason.

    To my knowledge, if the statements this guy made were true, the cleaners have no case. Anti-defamation suits in general are really difficult to win, because protected speech is pretty broad.

  15. Luckie says:

    @INconsumer: I often have my packages delivered to other addresses because I work M-F 9-7 so I’m never home when they would be delivered, and I wouldn’t want them to just be left at my door because they could be stolen. Some employers don’t like it if their employees have their packages shipped to their place of business.

  16. Luckie says:

    @camille_javal: Lawl, especially when they’re trying to decide if they “suck.” It’s so immature it’s virtually invincible.

  17. somecop says:

    @Maulleigh: Saying the cleaners sucks is his right. The man has a right to his opinion and a right to tell others of his experience. Maulleigh I think you suck for saying something so boneheaded. Please sue me.

  18. Jean Naimard says:

    And, as always, the lawyers will take them… to the cleaners.

  19. locode21 says:

    What a jackass crybaby.
    Blaming his gf’s hives on the detergent, when the website clearly indicates “(choice of 10 detergents including 7th Generation)” is bad enough, but continually going back for more is just plain moronic.
    And what kind of moron leaves a cell phone in his gym shorts?

  20. RottNDude says:


    The same kind of moron who feels the need to take their gym shorts to the cleaners, apparently.

  21. derobert says:

    IANAL, but…

    First claim: “sucks and is overpriced” is clearly a statement of opinion and can not, as a matter of law, be libel.

    Second claim: Is plain silly, unless there is a lot to the menacing employees part, which I doubt. The being present at the place of business sounds weird; why wouldn’t they just have him arrested for trespass?

    It says they later amended and added more claims… but I don’t see the later documents anywhere.

  22. CumaeanSibyl says:

    Wouldn’t the proper response to bad service of this kind be to file in small-claims court, say, for the value of the destroyed cell phone plus a refund for any unsatisfactory dry-cleaning experiences?

    I don’t know who’s in the right, but I’m not sure I understand the point of the signs. It’s not going to fix anything.

  23. ry81984 says:

    This guy is stupid for going back after the first time. But with it being new I can see giving them a second chance if they are in your building and are convient for you.

    Anyways this is America and he is just exercising his right of free speech. The store owner is an asshole.

  24. Caroofikus says:

    I have no idea how dry cleaners work, so could somebody explain to me how one receives WET clothes from a DRY cleaner? Every time I take my uniforms in they just come back ironed and starched.

  25. formergr says:

    Because looking at the sign above, they do wash-n-fold service too. I assume that’s what his gym shorts were in for (I hope anyway, because dry cleaning those would be lame), and I’m guessing that some washed and folded clothes weren’t dried all the way before folding.

  26. vex says:

    So now if I protest a company’s bad behavior by putting up fliers, I can be sued? Great. Maybe we should just shred the constitution right now.

  27. huadpe says:

    Under New York law, no matter how silly his complaints may be, as long as they are factually true, he’ll win the suit. Defamation requires malice, and part of malice is knowing that the claims aren’t true, or having a total disregard for the truth or untruth of your claims. Assuming that he actually did go to that cleaners, the second part isn’t valid, so his claims would have to be found factually untrue to have him lose the suit.

    That said, the evidence standard for civil cases is different than criminal cases. Preponderance of the evidence in your favour will win a civil case, wheras a defendant in a criminal case needs to have prof beyond a reasonable doubt in order to convict.

    Also, many attorneys will reccomend that their client ask for some outlandish sum to start, figuring they’ll negotiate down to a smaller number (say $2-3000) which would no longer justify a very expensive lawyer to fight. You can go too far with this strategy though, see Mr. Fancy Pants Judge.

  28. thalia says:

    If everything he said was true, then he had every right to tell everyone about it. Also, refusing to hand over a package is illegal.

  29. The dry cleaners strike back.

    Yeah, I hope they fail in this one. I guess posters are less stereotypical than lawsuits.

  30. Usermanual says:

    So when Maloney gets “taken to the cleaners” in this suit, can he request someone other than Layne? Sounds like he may not loose the slander and defamation case, but he is going to spend a lot of cash defending himself.

  31. y2julio says:

    @oneswellfoop: I think you are the asshole for making such a dumbass blanket statement about New Yorkers being assholes. As a New Yorker I have one thing for you…F**k you.

  32. ichiban1081 says:

    I also resent the comment about all New Yorkers being assholes. Ive lived in NY all my life (26) and sure I have met assholes but Ive also met alot of great people. The thing about us NYers is that we know what we want and we have to put up a sheild everyday we go out. We do not like being taken advantage of and our time is valuble to us. When you are strapped for time and then you have tons of people trying to sell you shit on the trains everday and ask you stupid questions you tend to get a little annoyed and we let them know we arent the ones to be messed with. But Ive seen tons of NYers always willing to help each other out. (9/11 comes to mind).

  33. ichiban1081 says:

    My thing is with this guy is that he constantly received bad service but yet KEPT going back. In NY there isnt like a dry cleaner shortage you can find them within about a block and a half of each other in residential areas. Dont know how the cell phone thing happend but if the man had the time and energy to make a website about how bad these people are and made flyers then he should have had the time and energy to check his own pockets before taking his stuff to the cleaners.

  34. JayXJ says:

    Yeah, that mystifies me. If I get bad service (and it does not seem like a one time goof), I’m done with that business.


    1. You really, really need to travel more. A-holes are everywhere. I’m from the South and I’m not this narrow minded.

    2. In regards to the cell phone. Yes, goober should have checked his pockets. BUT if as a business I offer to do it for you…then I have some responsibility for not living up to my end of the agreeement.

  35. sibertater says:


    I have to wonder if there is some other monetary issue behind the $300,000. Like maybe a mortgage or declining sales or something. Gads. Let’s sue people and then pretend we won the lotto!