Pearson told a local court in Washington DC that Custom Cleaners should pay the sum because a "satisfaction guaranteed" sign deceived consumers who, like him, were dissatisfied with their experience. "You will search the records of the District of Columbia courts in vain for a case of more egregious or wilful misconduct," Pearson told D.C. Judge Judith Bartnoff.
The lawyer for the Korean immigrants who run the dry cleaner said Pearson was looking for a way to resolve his financial difficulties after a divorce."It's simply a frivolous lawsuit brought by an unhappy customer with a bone to pick," attorney Chris Manning said.
Pearson filed suit after the cleaners lost his trousers in 2005. Defendants Jin Chung, Soo Chung and Ki Chung said they located the pants a few days later, but Pearson said they were not his.
Pearson, who has rejected several settlement offers, counted 12 separate violations of a consumer-protection law over 1,200 days, multiplied by the three defendants. At $1,500 per day, that is $65 million. He has also sought $15,000 to rent a car to take his clothes to another cleaner for the next 10 years. He subsequently did reduce his claim to $54 million.
The case is expected to conclude today, hopefully with substantial embarrassment for the plaintiff. Okay having a dry cleaners lose your trousers is a pain and compensation is appropriate, but to claim over $50m in such circumstances is utterly stupid. I would have thought this suit should cast doubt over his suitability to continue as a judgeUpdate. Judge Bartnoff ruled against Pearson today (25 June). Click here for further news
UPDATE: the Chungs have sold the shop where the incident was alleged to have taken place. See here