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Judge sues cleaner for $65M over pants (update: Judge loses job)

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Judge sues cleaner for $65M over pants (update: Judge loses job)

Old 05-03-07, 09:24 AM
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Judge sues cleaner for $65M over pants (update: Judge loses job)

Yet Another Judicial System Gone Mad Thread...

WASHINGTON - The Chungs, immigrants from South Korea, realized their American dream when they opened their dry-cleaning business seven years ago in the nation's capital. For the past two years, however, they've been dealing with the nightmare of litigation: a $65 million lawsuit over a pair of missing pants.

Jin Nam Chung, Ki Chung and their son, Soo Chung, are so disheartened that they're considering moving back to Seoul, said their attorney, Chris Manning, who spoke on their behalf.

"They're out a lot of money, but more importantly, incredibly disenchanted with the system," Manning said. "This has destroyed their lives."

The lawsuit was filed by a District of Columbia administrative hearings judge, Roy Pearson, who has been representing himself in the case.

Pearson did not return phone calls and e-mails Wednesday from The Associated Press requesting comment.

According to court documents, the problem began in May 2005 when Pearson became a judge and brought several suits for alteration to Custom Cleaners in Northeast Washington, a place he patronized regularly despite previous disagreements with the Chungs. A pair of pants from one suit was not ready when he requested it two days later, and was deemed to be missing.

Pearson asked the cleaners for the full price of the suit: more than $1,000.

But a week later, the Chungs said the pants had been found and refused to pay. That's when Pearson decided to sue.

Manning said the cleaners made three settlement offers to Pearson. First they offered $3,000, then $4,600, then $12,000. But Pearson wasn't satisfied and expanded his calculations beyond one pair of pants.

Because Pearson no longer wanted to use his neighborhood dry cleaner, part of his lawsuit calls for $15,000 the price to rent a car every weekend for 10 years to go to another business.

"He's somehow purporting that he has a constitutional right to a dry cleaner within four blocks of his apartment," Manning said.

But the bulk of the $65 million comes from Pearson's strict interpretation of D.C.'s consumer protection law, which fines violators $1,500 per violation, per day. According to court papers, Pearson added up 12 violations over 1,200 days, and then multiplied that by three defendants.

Much of Pearson's case rests on two signs that Custom Cleaners once had on its walls: "Satisfaction Guaranteed" and "Same Day Service."

Based on Pearson's dissatisfaction and the delay in getting back the pants, he claims the signs amount to fraud.

Pearson has appointed himself to represent all customers affected by such signs, though D.C. Superior Court Judge Neal Kravitz, who will hear the June 11 trial, has said that this is a case about one plaintiff, and one pair of pants.

Sherman Joyce, president of the American Tort Association, has written a letter to the group of men who will decide this week whether to renew Pearson's 10-year appointment. Joyce is asking them to reconsider.

Chief Administrative Judge Tyrone Butler had no comment regarding Pearson's reappointment.

The association, which tries to police the kind of abusive lawsuits that hurt small businesses, also has offered to buy Pearson the suit of his choice.

And former National Labors Relations Board chief administrative law judge Melvin Welles wrote to The Washington Post to urge "any bar to which Mr. Pearson belongs to immediately disbar him and the District to remove him from his position as an administrative law judge."

"There has been a significant groundswell of support for the Chungs," said Manning, adding that plans for a defense fund Web site are in the works.

To the Chungs and their attorney, one of the most frustrating aspects of the case is their claim that Pearson's gray pants were found a week after Pearson dropped them off in 2005. They've been hanging in Manning's office for more than a year.

Pearson claims in court documents that his pants had blue and red pinstripes.

"They match his inseam measurements. The ticket on the pants match his receipt," Manning said.


Video: http://cosmos.bcst.yahoo.com/up/play...61492&src=news

Last edited by The_Infidel; 05-03-07 at 09:31 AM.
Old 05-03-07, 09:27 AM
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Yeah, this has gotten considerable attention around here.
Old 05-03-07, 09:29 AM
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I predict Pearson will lose his case, lose his license, and lose a lot of money in a countersuit.
Old 05-03-07, 09:34 AM
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They lost his pants -- now the lawyer has no suit!

They lost his pants, now the lawyer will show them his briefs!

(Sorry -- best I could do on short notice.)
Old 05-03-07, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Mrs. Danger
I predict Pearson will lose his case, lose his license, and lose a lot of money in a countersuit.
We can only hope.
Old 05-03-07, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Mrs. Danger
I predict Pearson will lose his case, lose his license, and lose a lot of money in a countersuit.
i hope they take him to the cleaners
Old 05-03-07, 09:46 AM
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He's all washed up.
Old 05-03-07, 09:49 AM
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I hope big and powerful firm take the cleaners' case pro bono and sue the judge for malicious prosecution (or whatever its called in civil cases).
Old 05-03-07, 09:53 AM
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Geez. This guy is a douchebag. The chung's offered him $12k and he turned it down. Normally I could give a crap about stories like this, but it seems like he is picking on these people. They are a small family who have made a good honest living. Leave them alone
Old 05-03-07, 10:00 AM
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I wonder what other sorts of dirty laundry this will bring up?
Old 05-03-07, 10:03 AM
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I think the judge has proved himself someone who has absolutely no business being on the bench; he should go back to chasing ambulances (and representing himself in disbarment proceedings).
Old 05-03-07, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Mrs. Danger
I predict Pearson will lose his case, lose his license, and lose a lot of money in a countersuit.
I agree - since this has hit the AP I'm sure there are lawyers willing to take on this case for free and go after this judge on "harassment" charges
Old 05-03-07, 10:24 AM
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there are lawyers willing to take on this case for free
**reality collapses**
Old 05-03-07, 10:28 AM
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That Judge is fucking asshole... It's ONLY pants, it can easily replaced.
Old 05-03-07, 10:29 AM
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If the legal profession wants to regain a shred of credibility they will smack this idiot down hard.
Old 05-03-07, 10:33 AM
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I believe he is showing signs of mental aberration, needs to be removed from office, and placed in a facility where he can receive proper diagnosis and treatment.
Old 05-03-07, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by The_Infidel
Because Pearson no longer wanted to use his neighborhood dry cleaner, part of his lawsuit calls for $15,000 the price to rent a car every weekend for 10 years to go to another business.


The jerks at the deli a few blocks from my house refuse to stock moon rocks. I hate to even think about how much that decision is going to cost me.
Old 05-03-07, 10:36 AM
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I just saw the clip on CNN and I'm interested in seeing if this guy gets removed from the bench - I didn't know he was a minority.
Old 05-03-07, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by CPA-ESQ.
I just saw the clip on CNN and I'm interested in seeing if this guy gets removed from the bench - I didn't know he was a minority.
He won't then. Commence the countdown to Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson appearing..
Old 05-03-07, 10:45 AM
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I used to work for a judge. If this case wasn't in Washington, I'd think it was my old boss.

You know what they say ... a judge is just a lawyer with the asshole factor upped about a thousand percent. Sorry, Bando.
Old 05-03-07, 10:45 AM
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The judge should cut the cleaners some slack(s)
Old 05-03-07, 10:46 AM
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What minority is he? Koreans and African Americans sometimes don't get along--I wonder if this is racially motivated.
Old 05-03-07, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by tasha99
What minority is he? Koreans and African Americans sometimes don't get along--I wonder if this is racially motivated.
Judge Pearson has been active in the Washington, DC community for decades and has served as counsel or board member for such organizations as the Columbia Heights Youth Club, the Fort Lincoln Civic Association, Inc., Black Seeds, Inc., the Washington Council of Lawyers, and the DC chapter of the National Council of Black Lawyers.
Old 05-03-07, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by AGuyNamedMike
I believe he is showing signs of mental aberration, needs to be removed from office, and placed in a facility where he can receive proper diagnosis and treatment...
...and hopefully he'll be issued a nice, clean, brand-new pair of hospital pants.
Old 05-03-07, 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by tasha99
What minority is he? Koreans and African Americans sometimes don't get along--I wonder if this is racially motivated.
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