Roy Pearson’s Lawsuit Against His Dry Cleaner Has the Attention of the Country

This week has been an all-time record for traffic on the Maryland Personal Injury Lawyer Blog. Is this because of lawyers needing to know my thoughts on the nuances of handling personal injury cases? No. [EDITOR’S UPDATE: There is a verdict: click here for blog on VERDICT in this case.]
For those of you just tuning in to this nonsense, Administrative Law Judge Roy Pearson is suing his dry cleaner for millions of dollars after they lost his pants. On the stand this week, Judge Pearson — I tried, I can’t do it — Mr. Pearson cried on the stand as he recalled the horror of losing the pants from his precious blue and maroon suit.

Mr. Pearson claims to have owned exactly five suits, all Hickey Freemans which do not come cheaply, one for each day of the work week. But after putting on a few pounds, his suit rotation system crashed when he picked up his newly altered suits from the dry cleaner and could not find one pair of pants.

The pretrial hoopla about how insane this case is was completely lost on Mr. Pearson, who representing himself, said in his clearly understated opening statement, “Never before in recorded history have a group of defendants engaged in such misleading and unfair business practices.”

Under cross-examination, Mr. Pearson said the District of Columbia Consumer Protection Act, under which he is suing Custom Cleaners, should grant a customer whatever he or she wants if there is a “Satisfaction Guaranteed” sign.

The crazy thing is the dry cleaner actually took that guarantee to heart. Five years ago, when there was a problem with one of Mr. Pearson’s pants, the dry cleaner gave him a check for $150 with no questions asked. However, the dry cleaner asked Mr. Pearson to take his business elsewhere, probably because the guy drove them nuts on a regular basis. But in one of the least prophetic moments in dry cleaning history, they relented when Mr. Pearson asked if he could stay. How much harm could the guy cause, right?

The presiding judge in the case, Judge Judith Bartnoff, is expected to render her decision next week. Is there any chance on earth she does not do the right thing with all of this attention focused on the case? I think the chances are similar to the likelihood of that second Rodney King jury (the federal jury after the LA verdict) coming back with a defense verdict. Mark my words: a defense verdict or an incredibly low damage award is coming down the pike next week. And Roy Pearson does not see it coming….

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