The Gibson Law Group - January 2022

How Much Are Your Favorite Pants Worth? One Man Estimated His at $54 Million

Everyone knows that the perfect pair of pants can be hard to come by, but are they worth $54 million? Administrative Judge Roy L. Pearson had a favorite pair of pants, but in 2007, he claimed that Custom Cleaners lost them and returned a completely different pair instead. It all began when Pearson took his pants to the Washington, D.C., dry cleaners for alterations worth $10.50. The pants were sent in error to the incorrect dry cleaner, so Pearson’s pickup was delayed by several

though, was the company’s failure to live up to their “Satisfaction Guaranteed” and “Same Day Service” signs in the window.

The media had a field day, joking about the case as a “pantsuit” and inspiring a “Law & Order” episode called “Bottomless.” Pearson seemed to relish the spectacle, calling his lawsuit “an awesome responsibility” in court and breaking down into tears on the stand. He also called a witness who compared the Chungs to Nazis. Even though the Chungs offered him a $12,000 settlement to make the case go away, Pearson persevered. He ultimately lost his case. At the end of the trial, the judge declared that no reasonable person would consider the signs at Custom Cleaners to be an unconditional promise — and also that Pearson had failed to prove the returned pants weren’t his. The Chungs ultimately recovered their court costs via a fundraiser, and Pearson lost his judicial appointment. Unsurprisingly, this prompted another lawsuit, which he also lost. In 2020, Pearson was suspended from practicing law for 90 days as a result of his actions in Pearson v. Chung . But for bringing new meaning to the phase “I’ll sue the pants off of you,” his place in legal history is secure.

days. Once the pants were returned, despite bearing all the correct tags and matching his receipt, Pearson declared that the pants were not his. When the dry cleaner refused his demand for $1,000 compensation, he decided it was time for legal action. Pearson originally sued the cleaner’s owners, Soo Chung, Jin Nam Chung, and Ki Y. Chung, for a whopping $67 million in damages but later reduced the claim to a far more reasonable $54 million. In his suit, Pearson requested $3 million for mental distress, $90,000 for a rental car to visit another dry cleaner, and $500,000 in attorney’s fees (Pearson represented himself). At the heart of his claim,

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