As noted yesterday, the Chung family has offered to withdraw their request that Roy Pearson pay their legal fees in the now infamous lawsuit over a misplaced pair of suit pants. The Washington Post reports the story today.
In the motion filed in D.C. Superior Court, the owners of Custom Cleaners ask Pearson, who lost his famous $54 million lawsuit two months ago, to call a halt to the legal proceedings. If he intends to appeal a judge’s rejection of his lawsuit over a supposedly missing pair of pants, he has until tomorrow to file notice.
“With their losses and expenses now almost completely recouped, all Defendants want to do is make this case go away,” Christopher Manning, an attorney for Soo Chung and her family, wrote in the seven-page motion. “Defendants’ lives have been devastated and they want nothing more than to quietly return to running their dry cleaning business.”
Good for the Chungs, who recognize they can never be fullly compensated for their anguish and lost time. We hope that Pearson, who is a poor bet to have the money in any case, will accept the offer and find some other purpose to life.
One other observation: How many other business owners are put in the Chungs’ position, but because the legal claim against them is only for “a few” hundred thousand dollars and doesn’t come from a judge, fail to attract any public attention? Fundraisers for small-business owners being sued for outrageous claims are few and far between. The pain suffered by the Chungs is certainly real, but in one sense they’re fortunate — Pearson’s suit against them became a cause celebre.
So America needs more than ad hoc relief. We need reform, changes in state and federal laws to discourage this kind of expensive, excessive litigation. As Tiger Joyce of the American Tort Reform Association has pointed out, Pearson used the district’s consumer protection statutes to his own, tortious ends; those laws should be changed.
Fundraisers are great, but legal reform is even greater.
UPDATE (noon): The DCist observes: “But surely it takes a special kind of saint not to counter sue Pearson for the two plus years of legal torture he’s put the Chungs through, let alone being willing to drop a reasonable request to have their legal fees covered in a case no one, save Pearson, believes will be overturned.”
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