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I have no shrewd advice to offer developing writers about this business of snatching time and space to work. I do not have anything profound to offer mother-writers or worker-writers except to say that it will cost you something. Anything of value is going to cost you something. -- Toni Cade Bambara
I first became aware of Roy Pearson and wrote of him back in May. For the uninitiated, ol' Roy is the DC administrative judge who lost a pair of pants at the cleaners and then sued the cleaners for $54 million because the cleaners didn't give him the "satisfaction" they "guaranteed," even though on the road to try to please this guy the cleaners offered him $12,000. Roy wanted his answer in court. He got it big time: he lost the lawsuit. He also lost his job in the process. Who trusts a judge with poor judgment?
Sunlight is the best disinfectant. It's why I like Dr. Phil. It's amazing how many jerks show up on his show and parade their self-righteous behavior before the world and then suffer the aftermath of ridicule and horror when others they know see them on TV and react appropriately. Dr. Phil is an open forum for shaming. That's a good thing, and, in my opinion, badly in need of replication across America.
So now for his utter hubris, Roy gets more moments in the spotlight via end-of-the-year lists.
The Chungs, who own the dry cleaners that was sued for a bazillion dollars by a DC administrative judge over a pair of lost pants, have withdrawn their motion to have court loser Roy Pearson pay for the $83,000 they chalked up in legal fees.
All the Chungs "want to do is make this case go away" so they can return to their lives, and they hope by "offering this olive branch" that Pearson won't appeal.
Any hope that Pearson might not file an appeal has grown slimmer...
After universal condemnation, an initial loss, and potentially losing his job over this, why would Roy Pearson continue?
We live in a fishbowl world, where our actions can be photographed, filmed, and recorded by just about anyone.
A friend of mine sends me a link to the story of a guy who sent his girlfriend flowers via 1-800-FLOWERS, and as is their custom, they send a thank you note for doing business with them. Except that his wife intercepted the note, and then got a fax of the transaction.
This YouTube video has its audio/video poorly synched, but listen anyway...
I guess they were separated at the time. But if that's true, then how is it that the Thank You note went to his wife's address and not his own? That's his fault, not theirs.
Within the commission, the discussion about Pearson's future has focused on when and whether it is right to measure a judge's performance by his behavior outside the courtroom. The panel looked specifically at whether Pearson's extraordinary zeal in pursuing the case against the Chungs was so frivolous and embarrassing to the judicial system that it should be taken as evidence of his lack of judicial temperment. "A judge has a right to bring a lawsuit like any other citizen," said a source close to the commission, "but he doesn't have a First Amendment right to bring a frivolous lawsuit."
The commission is expected to address the Chung case specifically in its letter to Pearson, pointing out that his no-holds-barred pursuit of mega-millions in a case stemming from a $10.50 alteration on a pair of suit pants raises serious questions about his judicial temperment and raises public questions about judicial ethics and standards. Following receipt of the letter, Pearson would then have the right to a hearing before the commission. Only after that hearing would the commission formally move to end Pearson's tenure as a judge. Pearson has not been sitting as a judge since the end of April, when his first term on the bench expired. Rather, he is now technically considered an "attorney advisor" to the Office of Administrative Hearings. Asked what Pearson does in that position, a high-ranking city official said, "Zippo."
And even if he loses his job, the Chungs probably won't have to look for an unemployed Pearson to help them recover the legal fees since they recently received donations to help offset the costs.
It's nice to see justice happening in this case. It's restoring my faith in the legal system.
The fundraiser netted more than $64,000, with more pledges still coming in, organizers said.
"Without your support, the Chungs could very well have gone bankrupt," defense attorney Chris Manning told the crowd of about 150.
The organizers said they also wanted to raise visibility for tort reform in the face of lawsuits that unfairly target small businesses.
"Our motto is the spirit of free enterprise," said Lisa Rickard, president of the Institute for Legal Reform. "The Chungs epitomize that in our perspective. They've really been living the American dream, and that all came to a halt with the filing of this lawsuit.
America's runaway legal system imposes burdensome costs on workers, consumers, small businesses, and healthcare. The cost of America's lawsuit-happy culture totals $261 billion a year, or $880 per person, according to seminal research by Tillinghast-Towers Perrin (2006). According to a 2004 study commissioned by the Institute for Legal Reform, small businesses alone pay $88 billion a year to cover the cost of America's tort system - money that could be used to hire additional workers, expand productivity, and improve employee benefits.
On another page of their web site, it's nice to see that Iowa ranks well in terms of how reasonable and balanced the tort liability system is perceived to be by U.S. business. We're the fourth most reasonable state. Another good reason to start a business here.
The defendant in this case had to fight this in court, and while they won, it was oh so expensive. It cost them $83,000 in legal fees. They're asking to have the judge who brought the suit to cover those costs. No decision yet... but at the moment, just in terms of dollars, this business owner has lost more than what most people make in a year over a simple mistake. That doesn't at all factor in their time involved.
There ought to be a reasonable cap for this kind of thing. Like maybe two or three times the value of the damaged/lost article. Had Roy Pearson only been able to sue for $2,400 over his $800 pair of pants, he would have been able to recoup his money and easily buy a new pair, the owners of the dry cleaners would have spent no more than $3,000 on the whole affair, and the legal system wouldn't look so ridiculous to allow this sort of escapade.
Pearson originally sought $67 million in his lawsuit, which was based on a strict interpretation of the city's consumer protection law. The suit also included damages for inconvenience, mental anguish and attorney's fees for representing himself.
But beyond just the value of the lost pants, we have the ambiguous and subjective valuations for inconvenience and mental anguish. And you would think that two or three times the value of the pants might cover that.
I'll keep on top of this. I want to know if the folks who own the dry cleaners get their money back. I also suspect that Roy Pearson, a judge who is apparently bereft of common sense and perspective, will keep plugging away at this. Which of course will cost more legal fees to the defendants...
The infamous judge who sued his dry cleaners for $67 million over a lost pair of pants had his day in court. The judge decided against him, showing that America is indeed a just place to live.
That's right - the pomposity that is Roy L. Pearson Jr. got the smack down he well-deserved.
The sad thing is that ol' Roy's a judge, who holds court to interpret the law for others, and he somehow believed that the law gave him the right to drag his local dry cleaners through court for two years and sue for an amount totalling over 80,000 pairs of the pants, which had a value of $800, as he gave it.
And if that's not enough to believe Judge Pearson impeachable, how about his behavior on the stand?
On the witness stand, Pearson broke down in tears and had to take a break from his testimony because he became too emotional while questioning himself about his experience with the missing trousers.
In his opening statement, Pearson came out swinging, telling the court, "Never before in recorded history have a group of defendants engaged in such misleading and unfair business practices."
Repeatedly referring to himself as "we..."
What is he - the queen??
Pearson sought to present himself as the leader of a class of tens of thousands, if not a half million people, consisting of local residents he believes are at risk of falling for such insidious business practices as posting "Satisfaction Guaranteed" and "Same Day Service" signs. Pearson said at one point in court filings that he planned to call 63 witnesses.
"Mr. Pearson, you are not 'we.' You are an 'I,'" Bartnoff told him.
As Pearson explained the details of the missing pants, he struggled to get through his hour and a half of testimony, most of which concerned his credentials and his background.
He became visibly emotional when he reached the point in the story in which he recounted a confrontation with Soo Chung from the dry cleaning store.
"These are not my pants," he testified, and said he told her, "I have in my adult life, with one exception, never worn pants with cuffs."
Pearson testified that Chung insisted, saying, "These are your pants."
Pearson then rushed from the courtroom, overcome with emotion.
He rushed from the courtroom, overcome with emotion, over a pair of pants?
And he presides over justice in court?? Hoo boy. I hope that's corrected as soon as possible.
We have a justice system that allows financial terrorism. The story: a guy's pants are missing at the dry cleaners. His solution? Sue the dry cleaners for $67 million. The kicker? This guy is a judge, using our justice system as a lottery to satisfy his idiot vengeance.
First, Pearson demanded $1,150 for a new suit. Lawyers were hired, legal wrangling ensued and eventually the Chungs offered Pearson $3,000 in compensation.
Then they offered him $4,600.
Finally, they offered $12,000 for the missing gray trousers with the red and blue stripes.
Pearson said no.
With neither satisfaction nor his prized gray pants, Pearson upped the ante considerably.
The judge went to the lawbooks. Citing the District of Columbia's consumer protection laws, he claims he is entitled to $1,500 per violation.
What follows is the beginning of thousands of pages of legal documents and correspondence that, two years later, have led to a massive civil lawsuit in the amount of $67 million.
According to court papers, here's how Pearson calculates the damages and legal fees:
He believes he is entitled to $1,500 for each violation, each day during which the "Satisfaction Guaranteed" sign and another sign promising "Same Day Service" was up in the store -- more than 1,200 days.
And he's multiplying each violation by three because he's suing Jin and Soo Chung and their son.
He also wants $500,000 in emotional damages and $542, 500 in legal fees, even though he is representing himself in court.
He wants $15,000 for 10 years' worth of weekend car rentals as well.
Here's this clown's bio. He's obviously proud of his previous work as an attorney on the "Neighborhood Legal Services Program," and he boasts of getting multi-million dollar settlements. I guess he saw that gravy train and decided to hop on board.
The scariest part for me is that he "was responsible for training and supervising a legal and support staff of 20-60 persons in neighborhood offices throughout the District of Columbia." He taught people this mentality. He's breeding.
They have it exactly right in the first article when they quote this:
"People in America are now scared of each other," legal expert Philip Howard told ABC News' Law & Justice Unit. "That's why teachers won't put an arm around a crying child, and doctors order unnecessary tests, and ministers won't meet with parishioners. It's a distrust of justice and it's changing our culture."