Washington Post columnist Marc Fisher profiles a litigious D.C. judge who wants millions — MILLIONS! — because the cleaners misplaced his pants. If the story weren’t so ridiculous, it would be …well, it’s just ridiculous.
He says he deserves millions for the damages he suffered by not getting his pants back, for his litigation costs, for “mental suffering, inconvenience and discomfort,” for the value of the time he has spent on the lawsuit, for leasing a car every weekend for 10 years and for a replacement suit, according to court papers. [Roy] Pearson is demanding $65,462,500. The original alteration work on the pants cost $10.50.
By the way, Pearson is a lawyer. Okay, you probably figured that. But get this: He’s a judge, too — an administrative law judge for the District of Columbia.
In the immediate case, this is a nightmare for the Chung family that runs Custom Cleaners, who are spending thousands of hard-earned dollars to defend themselves from complaint after complaint.
But more generally, this kind of litigation frenzy has serious implications for our America’s competitiveness. It was just a month ago that the Pacific Research Institute released a study documenting how America’s out-of-control legal system hits the economy with $865 billion annually in direct and indirect costs.
According to the study, the $865 billion spent on tort costs each year represents 2.2 percent of our GDP, compared to 0.9 percent from other advanced economies. In the private sector, this is over $367 billion per year in lost product sales for America companies because spending on litigation curtails investment in research and development.
“It’s time for Congress to wake up and realize that America can no longer be a nation of the lawyers, by the lawyers and for the lawyers,” [NAM President John] Engler said.
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