LAWFUEL – Legal Newswire – Roy Pearson, the Pants Judge wants to keep …

LAWFUEL – Legal Newswire – Roy Pearson, the Pants Judge wants to keep the dry cleaners he sued out of his pockets with a claim for legal costs.

In a filing yesterday in D.C. Superior Court, Administrative Law Judge Roy Pearson said he should not be forced to pay legal fees to the dry cleaners he sued over a missing pair of pants.

A case that took nearly two weeks to decide could hardly be considered frivolous, Pearson said in a 65-page brief. The trial judge’s written verdict did not take such a charitable view of Pearson’s case, dismissing his allegations outright.

An order that Pearson pay attorney fees would be unusual, but the case against Custom Cleaners, a family-owned business on Bladensburg Road NE, was about as odd as they come.

After the pants he had brought in for alterations became missing a couple of years ago, Pearson went on the attack. Saying the pants eventually offered as his were not the ones he had brought in, Pearson sought more than $1,000 to buy a new suit. When the dry cleaners balked, Pearson sued, not for the cost of the pants, not for the cost of the suit — but for $67 million.

He alleged that the cleaners had defrauded him and other consumers by failing to honor the “Satisfaction Guaranteed” sign posted in the business and that the city’s consumer protection law all but demanded that he take on the cleaners.

By the time the case went to trial in June, Pearson had reduced his demand — to $54 million. Members of the tort reform movement decried the case as an example of all that is wrong with America’s legal system. Late-night comedians ridiculed Pearson. And other judges shook their heads in bewilderment.

The judge overseeing the trial, Judith Bartnoff, was, in the end, no more sympathetic. In a 23-page ruling a couple of weeks later, Bartnoff found for Soo and Jin Chung, the owners of the cleaners, saying Pearson was not entitled to a single cent.

That was only the beginning of Pearson’s troubles. The Chungs’ attorneys, Christopher C.S. Manning and Melinda A. Sossamon, filed a post-trial motion seeking $82,772 in legal fees from Pearson to sanction him for prosecuting what they considered a frivolous lawsuit.