Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Dry Cleaners Lose Pants; Judge Sues for $67 Million

In one of those lawsuits which makes me sort of ashamed to admit I am in law school, a judge in Washington D.C. is suing his local dry cleaners for $67 million after they lost his favorite pairs of pants. No, that wasn't a misprint. Or a internet urban myth. Apparently these pants were quite meaningful to the judge, and he is suing for "mental suffering, inconvenience and discomfort", the last two of which I don't really think are actionable. ABC News has more.

Pearson says in court papers that he took a pair of pants in to Custom Cleaners in the Fort Lincoln section of D.C. that year, and the pants were lost. So Jin and Soo Chung, the Korean immigrant couple who own Custom Cleaners and two other dry cleaning shops, gave Pearson a $150 check for a new pair of pants.

Three years later, Pearson says he returned to Custom Cleaners and - like some real life "Groundhog Day'' nightmare - his trousers went missing.


So, when they went missing the second time, he sued. And now, years later, the court case is causing a financial headache for the owner of the dry cleaner, who is being besieged with legal fees.
"It's affecting us first of all financially, because of all the lawyers' fees,'' Jin Chung said. "For two years, we've been paying lawyer fees... we've gotten bad credit as well, and secondly, it's been difficult mentally and physically because of the level of stress.''

While the judge's explanation for his $67 million claim at least has some basis in reality (According to ABC's story he's suing for ten years of weekend car rentals so he can transport his dry cleaning to another store -- though how this amounts to $67 million is puzzling, must be all that "mental anguish" he suffered) this whole case is sad. Sad for the dry cleaner who is being financially ruined by this silly lawsuit. Sad for the judge who obviously has some sort of vindictive nature to him to go this far with the case (the ABC report says he plans on calling 63 (!!) witnesses at the civil trial). And sad for our legal system, which gets another black eye because of this ridiculous lawsuit.

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