Posts Tagged ‘Roy Pearson’

Updates – May 17

Updating a few of the earlier stories covered around here:

  • Maybe it’s not so gay after all: Rebekah Rice, the California high school student who sued her school after they disciplined her for saying “That’s so gay,” has lost her lawsuit.

    “All of us have probably felt at some time that we were unfairly punished by a callous teacher, or picked on and teased by boorish and uncaring bullies. Unfortunately, this is part of what teenagers endure in becoming adults,” the judge wrote in a 20-page ruling. “The law, with all its majesty and might, is simply too crude and imprecise an instrument to satisfactorily soothe deeply hurt feelings.”

    Moreover, the judge picked up on the same irony we noted when we first covered the story:

    “If the Rice family had not told everyone that Rebekah had been given a referral for saying ‘That’s so gay’ then no one else would have know it either, and she would not have been referred to as the ‘That’s so gay girl,'” the judge wrote.

    (Update to the update: Matthew Heller has the opinion.)

  • Contrary to what we had speculated, it appears that Pants Judge Roy Pearson still has a job and may continue to do so. According to an unnamed D.C. official, and exemplifying the attitude with which the tort reform movement is fighting, “I don’t think it’s appropriate not to reappoint someone just because they file a lawsuit. You can’t retaliate against someone for exercising their constitutional, First Amendment right to file a lawsuit to vindicate their rights.” (No, but you can retaliate against someone for filing a frivolous lawsuit.) Meanwhile, as a face-saving publicity stunt, the American Trial Lawyers Association filed an ethics complaint against Pearson; really, Pearson isn’t doing anything that ATLA doesn’t endorse in other situations.
  • Remember Ted and Mary Roberts, the husband-and-wife team of San Antonio lawyers who hatched a blackmail scheme in which the wife had sex with married men and the husband threatened to sue them unless they paid him to keep quiet? (Ted’s been convicted; Mary is awaiting trial.) The bankruptcy trustee, acting on behalf of their estate, had sued the local San Antonio Express News for violating their privacy by reporting on their scheme; Howard Bashman reports that the Fifth Circuit affirmed dismissal of the lawsuit by a lower court. So the newspaper won a complete legal victory — but truthfully reporting on a criminal scheme by prominent lawyers nevertheless must have cost them six figures’ worth of legal expenses.
  • O.J. Simpson will not be suing the Kentucky steakhouse that wouldn’t serve him. His lawyer — the one who rushed to announce that O.J. was a victim and that the steakhouse “screwed with the wrong guy” — now tries to blame the owner for “using the episode for publicity.” (Originally, May 10.)
  • The bogus Equal vs. Splenda unfair competition lawsuit (Mar. 8) over Splenda’s “Made From Sugar, So It Tastes Like Sugar” slogan settled on undisclosed terms, moments before a jury announced its verdict. Although we don’t know the terms of the settlement, it shouldn’t be too hard to figure out the non-monetary part: just check whether Splenda changes its advertising.

May 8 roundup

Pants fallout?

This is still speculative, but Judge Roy Pearson, the judge who is now-infamous for suing his dry cleaners for $65 million for a pair of pants, may be facing some repercussions for his abusive lawsuit. We don’t know at this time if it’s significant, but his employee biography page at the Washington DC Office of Administrative Hearings now results in the terse message The requested article is no longer published.

Previous Pearson coverage: Apr. 26, May 1, May 4.

(Hat tip: The Conservative Voice.)

Update: And his name is not listed in the OAH Directory of judges.

Pant-demonium breaks loose, cont’d

Outrage continues to spread over Roy Pearson, Jr.’s $65 million suit against a Washington, D.C. Korean dry cleaner over a lost pair of suit pants (Apr. 26, May 1). The Washington Post editorially wonders whether Pearson should continue in his position as an administrative law judge given the “serious questions” raised by the case “about his judgment and temperament”. (“Kick in the Pants”, May 3). Associated Press coverage is circulating worldwide: Lubna Takruri, “Judge sues cleaner for $65M over pants”, AP/Kansas City Star, May 3. And Alex Spillius in London’s Daily Telegraph (“Judge sues dry cleaners over lost trousers, May 3) notes that Pearson

reached the figure of $67,292,000 as follows: Washington’s consumer protection law provides for damages of $1,500 per violation per day. Mr Pearson started multiplying: 12 violations over 1,200 days, times three defendants (the Chungs and their son)….

Mr Pearson has set the Chungs and their lawyers a long list of questions, which includes: “Please identify by name, full address and telephone number, all cleaners known to you on May 1, 2005 in the District of Columbia, the United States and the world that advertise ‘SATISFACTION GUARANTEED’,” according to the Washington Post.

The $65 million pants: Judge Roy Pearson update

(Earlier.) Commenter Becky points us to this Sherman Joyce letter in the Examiner, to which we have added hyperlinks:

Dear Judge Butler and Commissioners Rigsby, Levine and Wilner:

On behalf of the American Tort Reform Association, which works to combat lawsuit abuse, I urge you to carefully reconsider the reappointment of Administrative Law Judge Roy Pearson Jr. to a 10-year term, scheduled to commence in three days on May 2.

As you are almost surely aware by now, thanks to extensive local and national media coverage, Judge Pearson has chosen to exploit the District’s well-intentioned but loosely worded Consumer Protection and Procedures Act in suing a family-owned D.C. dry cleaner for more than $65 million — over a lost pair of suit pants.

Though the pants have long since been found and made available to him, Judge Pearson has stubbornly continued to waste precious Superior Court resources in a clearly misguided effort to extort a hardworking family that provides a service to its community and tax revenue to the District government.

In a letter to the editor in today’s Washington Post, former National Labors Relations Board chief administrative law judge Melvin Welles urged “any bar to which Mr. Pearson belongs to immediately disbar him and the District to remove him from his position as an administrative law judge.”

To those of us who carefully study the litigation industry’s growing abuse of consumer protection laws around the country (see ATRA general counsel Victor Schwartz’s recent article from Executive Counsel magazine, “Consumer Protection Acts Are a Springboard for Lawsuit Abuse,” enclosed) and to everyday D.C. taxpayers who collectively provide Pearson with a considerable salary, his persistence in this lawsuit raises serious question about his capacity to serve the city as a “fair, impartial, effective, and efficient” judge, as required by the Office of Administrative Hearings Establishment Act.

If Pearson goes ahead with his lawsuit, any party who comes before him in future administrative hearings could understandably lack confidence in his judgment and judicial temperament. Furthermore, this case will become fodder for late-night comics, various members of Congress and other assorted critics of D.C. government if this case, scheduled for trial June 11, remains in the headlines.

Judicial temperament is a critical characteristic of an outstanding jurist. Any individual who chooses to pursue a case such as Pearson’s, at a minimum, calls into question his or her’s. As you consider his reappointment, we strongly urge you to examine closely his judicial temperament and decide whether it is sufficient to serve the people of the District of Columbia properly as an administrative law judge.

Pearson has a litigation history; commenter Monica points us to this reported opinion stemming from his divorce.

Update, May 2, from ABC News:

[The Chungs] have spent thousands of dollars defending themselves against Pearson’s lawsuit.

“It’s not humorous, not funny and nobody would have thought that something like this would have happened,” Soo Chung told ABC News through an interpreter.

Her husband agreed.

“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.”

Roy L. Pearson, Jr. and the $65 million pants

Attorney (and now administrative judge) Roy L. Pearson, Jr. paid $10.50 to have some pants altered at his dry cleaners’, but was dissatisfied with the results, so sued them on grounds that their “Satisfaction Guaranteed” sign was consumer fraud. Among his claimed damages is the need for a car to find a new dry cleaner. Pearson at first demanded $1150 for a new suit, but turned down offers from the dry cleaner to settle for $3000, for $4600, and for $12000, and claims DC consumer protection law entitles him to $65 million. The Chung family has removed their “Satisfaction Guaranteed” sign. (Marc Fisher, “Lawyer’s Price For Missing Pants: $65 Million”, Washington Post, Apr. 26; Obscure Store blog; DCist, Apr. 13; ABC-7, Apr. 12).

Update: May 1.