Thursday, May 03, 2007

Where are my pants?

That very question was posed by Roy L. Pearson, Jr., of Washington, D.C. in May of 2005. As it turns out, Pearson had taken some suits to a local dry cleaners, and, when the suits were returned, a pair of the pants was missing. Pearson requested the full price of the suit, in lieu of the missing pants. The South Korean owners later found a pair of pants that matched Pearson's, but he insisted that they weren't his.

And that's where things started getting weird.

After Jin Nam Chung, Ki Chung, and Soo Chung refused to pay for the suit, Pearson sued them. The Chungs, through their lawyer, offered a few settlements to Judge Pearson, first for $3,000, and then moving up until settling on $12,000. For a pair of pants.

Somehow, though, $12K wasn't enough for Pearson to drop his lawsuit. In part of his suit, he's asking for $15,000, to cover the costs incurred of renting a car to visit a different dry cleaners. After all, we all know that living in America, especially in the nation's capital, we're all promised the right to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and reasonably located dry cleaning. Well, obviously, when Pearson decided that he could no longer visit the nearest dry cleaners, one of his inalienable rights was being violated, so of course the cost of the rental car should be part of the suit.

But that's not all. Pearson, being a judge and familiar with legal loopholes, exploited one of his own to amass a total of 12 violations, commited for a length of 1,200 days, and performed by three people. With each violation carrying a potential penalty of $1,500, Pearson found he was able to sue the Chungs for a grand total of $65M.

For a pair of pants.

We're familiar with the concept of fraudulent or frivolous lawsuits. We're used to the criminals who sue homeowners because of injuries onsite (possibly a workman's compensation issue, really), and then there's the obese individuals who have sued fast food restaurants for making them fat. But we liked to think that those who dispense justice would be above this. Obviously, at least in Pearson's case, this isn't always true. Hopefully, the June 11 trial will restore some faith to us.

Of course, we're relatively thankful that it wasn't a fedora or a bowler that had gone missing. If Pearson is willing to sue for $65M over a pair of pants (which, while part of a suit, could have been replaced relatively easily, if indeed the Chungs didn't find his original pair), imagine what he might've tried to get for a distinguished hat. It's fairly safe to assume that over such daunting headgear, Pearson may very well have filed a lawsuit that would dwarf the budgets of most Hollywood blockbusters.

On the flip side, for $65M, the only thing we can hope for is that the pants walk themselves, increase virility, and repel stains not only from themselves, but from the immediate surrounding area. Otherwise, they're just pants.

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