Those Aren’t My Pants
Posted by shadmia on June 26, 2007
Remember the case of the judge (Roy Pearson) who was suing the dry cleaners (Soo and Jin Chung) for $54 million? Well the trial is over and Judge Pearson gets NOTHING!! and on top of that he is ordered to pay the court costs of the defendants, likely to be a few thousand dollars. The judge presiding over the trial, Judith Bartnoff, was also considering ordering Pearson to pay the Chung’s attorney’s fees, likely to be over $100,000.
The case began back on May 3, 2005 when Pearson went to the local dry cleaners, run by Soo and Jin Chung, to have the pants of a suit he intended to wear, altered. He had put on weight and needed the pants let out. When he returned to pick up the pants at the dry cleaners, they were unable to find them. Soo Chung promised to look for them. Pearson returned a week later and she tried to give him a pair of pants which he said was not his. Not only was the pattern different but the pants also had cuffs. Pearson wrote the Chungs a letter demanding $1,150 to buy a new suit. The Chungs did not respond. Pearson then brought a lawsuit against them.
The original lawsuit asked for $67 million which was later scaled back to $54 million. Pearson argued that the amount he asked for was not the actual cost of the suit but was about “Safeguarding the rights of every consumer in the District who might fall prey to signs like those once posted in Custom Cleaners”. The sign said: “Satisfaction Guaranteed”. During the course of the litigation Pearson was offered $3,000 then $4,600 and finally $12,000 all of which he refused, to settle the case.
In handing down her decision Judge Judith Bartnoff said:
“A reasonable consumer would not interpret ‘Satisfaction Guaranteed’ to mean that a merchant is required to satisfy a customer’s unreasonable demands or to accede to demands that the merchant has reasonable grounds to dispute,” Bartnoff wrote in a 23-page ruling, adding that Pearson “is not entitled to any relief whatsoever.”
Pearson also has something else to think about…….His Job! He is up for reappointment this year, and could have a hard time keeping his $96,000-a-year job if Bartnoff finds him at fault for his pursuit of the case. While awaiting a decision on his reappointment, Pearson is not hearing cases.
Christopher Manning, the lead attorney for the Chungs, made a statement outside their dry cleaning business after the decision: “Obviously, it’s a great day for the Chungs, and honestly, it’s a great day for American justice”
Soo Chung was smiling, grateful for the news from the court and hopeful that she would soon be able to put the incident behind her. But when asked what she would do if Pearson turned up again with some clothes, she took no chances. “We can’t stop him from coming in as a customer,” she said, speaking through a relative who translated her words from Korean.
Before the decision was handed down there was much media discussion about this case. Was it a frivolous lawsuit and should the judge who brought it be sanctioned if he looses the case? Below is a video clip that touches on some of the implications of the case.