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Are Your Lost Pants Worth $67 Million?

A former administrative law judge sued his dry cleaners for $67 million for allegedly losing his pants.  The District of Columbia Board of Professional Responsibility ruled that a stayed suspension was too light a punishment for him.

Roy Pearson, Jr. initially sought $1,150 as compensation for Hickey-Freeman pants that his dry cleaners allegedly lost when he sued them in 2005.  The dry cleaners refused to pay.

Mr. Pearson’s argument was that “same day service” meant the dry cleaner had to provide same-day service, regardless of whether it was actually requested or what time the clothes were dropped off.  Additionally, he stated that the “satisfaction guaranteed” sign meant that the cleaners had to satisfy any customer’s wish without limit.

Unfortunately, Mr. Pearson could not prove that his pants were actually lost or damaged, but his argument was that he did not need to prove the pants had been lost to satisfy his “satisfaction guaranteed” claim.

The DC Board agreed with a hearing committee that Mr. Pearson violated ethics rules barring frivolous claims and serious interference with the administration of justice.  They said that his conduct during the course of the lawsuit was extreme, and his liability and damage claims were “manifestly absurd.”

The Board stated: “Throughout the proceedings, Pearson failed to conduct an objective appraisal of the legal merits of his position.  He made, and continues to make, arguments that no reasonable attorney would think he had even a faint hope of success on the legal merits.”