The Suit Remains the Same

By July 12, 2007Briefly Legal

Now, that’s a good headline: “Judge Continues to Press Pants Suit

Unfortunately for the Chungs and the American legal system, the news isn’t so amusing.

A customer who sued a dry cleaner for $54 million over a missing pair of pants has asked the judge who threw out the widely mocked case to reconsider, saying she committed a “fundamental legal error.”

Roy L. Pearson, a local administrative law judge, argued Wednesday that District of Columbia Superior Court Judge Judith Bartnoff failed to address his legal claims. Bartnoff had ruled that the business owners did not violate the city’s consumer protection law by failing to live up to his expectations of a “Satisfaction Guaranteed” sign once displayed in the store.

“The court effectively substituted a guarantee of satisfaction with ‘reasonable’ limits and preconditions for the unconditional and unambiguous guarantee of satisfaction the defendant-merchant chose to advertise for seven years,” Pearson wrote. “That was a fundamental legal error.”

You know what Pearson’s mistake was here? Asking for the ridiculous amount. If he had only demanded $50,000 or $100,000, his legal action would never have drawn the public’s interest or become such a cause celebre for tort reformers. He might have bullied the Chungs into a settlement, or at least kept the case alive on and on, providing continued meaning to an obsessive life. He overreached.

You have to wonder. How many other business owners are out there being harassed in cases we never hear about, just because the plaintiff isn’t asking for $54 million?

Oh, yes.

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