Remember the Judge and his Pants? Still Going On

By July 5, 2007Briefly Legal

One of the great flaws of the greatly flawed American system of civil justice is the lack of finality. You think a legal complaint is at last done…over…finished…and then suddenly, GRAB, like Carrie’s hand bursting from the grave, the case returns to seize you by the neck and give you nightmares.

We’re not sure what role Judge Pearson is playing (Piper Laurie? John Travolta?) in this legal horror story, but his $54 million “lost pants” lawsuit against his drycleaners refuses to die. The Post’s indispensible Marc Fisher updates us in his blog, Raw Fisher.

He’s baaaa-ack: Roy Pearson, the D.C. administrative law judge who filed, fought and lost a $54 million lawsuit against the Korean immigrants who own his neighborhood dry cleaners, chose the Fourth of July holiday to make it clear that he will not be going away.

Despite a clear finding by D.C. Superior Court Judge Judith Bartnoff that Pearson’s case against Custom Cleaners had no merit and that the cleaners’ possible misplacing of a pair of Pearson’s pants was not worth a penny to the plaintiff, Pearson is back. He wrote to defense lawyer Christopher Manning this week to let the Chung family know that Pearson plans to file today a motion arguing that Bartnoff failed to address Pearson’s legal claims and asking the judge to reverse her verdict in the case.

Manning, who has said that the Chungs have already been wiped out financially by the need to defend themselves against Pearson’s two-year legal jihad, responded to Pearson by asking that he end the misery for the Chungs, who face legal bills of more than $100,000. Manning asked Pearson to consider moving on, for the Chungs’ sake and for his own.

Manning continues his motions for Pearson to pay the Chungs’ legal fees, and the question remains outstanding whether Pearson will be reappointed to his administrative judge’s post. Seems like a not-so-difficult question to us.

A legal defense fund has been set up to help the Chungs cover their sadly continuing legal costs, and the D.C. Chamber and the American Tort Reform Association are sponsoring a fundraiser on their behalf on July 24. Details at

Happy ending. We need a happy ending. And, please, no sequels or remakes.

UPDATE (6:10 p.m.) Forgot to mention that Chris Manning will be on this weekend NAM radio program, “America’s Business with Mike Hambrick,” speaking with Renee Giachino of the American Justice Partnership. More details and a link to the show tomorrow.

And Marc, is that really how you spell, “baaaa-ack?” Seems like that would be two syllables.

Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • J. Sickler says:

    As you are undoubtedly aware, a $54 million lawsuit was recently brought in DC District Court against a small neighborhood drycleaners over a pair of alleged lost trousers. While the Court found resoundingly in favor of the business owners, Jin and Soo Chung, their ordeal is not yet over—they have drained their saving accounts contesting this frivolous lawsuit, and they have racked up over $100,000 in legal expenses.

    In order to help the Chungs defray their legal bills, ILR and the American Tort Reform Association are co-hosting a fundraiser on Tuesday evening, July 24 at 6 p.m. at the US Chamber Building in Washington, DC. Unfortunately, businesses large and small across America must deal every day with similar extortionist tactics from some plaintiffs’ lawyers. The collective outcome is not justice, but lost jobs, ruined businesses and billions of dollars in lost economic opportunity. Additional details, sponsorship opportunities and easy online registration are available at

  • skh.pcola says:

    Yet more evidence for the need of tort reform. And a “loser pays” law would prevent many of these frivolous suits, too. That would have the sooper-dooper benefit of hamstringing the execrable ACLU in their pursuit of the failure of the US’s continued existence.

  • Twister411 says:

    I can’t believe that this man won’t give up. I really hope he is disbarred and then tarred and feathered. I doubt he even truly understand the legal aspect of any case. You’re not allowed to request attorney’s fee for representing yourself.

    This man is making America into a laughing stock. This is why people think our court system is such a joke. Having a fool drag out his insane idealism over a pair of pants.

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