The Pearson vs. Custom Cleaners verdict is in! It was submitted today by DC Superior Court Judge Judith Bartnoff, ruling in favor of the Chungs with a full defense verdict and an award of costs to the Chungs. For those who don't know anything about this case... basically, Roy Pearson is a fool idiot judge who claim a dry cleaners lost his pants, and thus sued them for a ludicrous $54 million. After lots of media hoopla and a ridiculous trial, Pearson isn't getting a dime: Plaintiff Gets Nothing in $54M Case of Missing Pants. I can't see how the judge could've ruled any other way. More here: Dry cleaner wins missing pants case
Judge Bartnoff delivered her decision this morning in writing23 pages dissecting and dismissing Pearson's claim that he was defrauded by the owners of Custom Cleaners and their "Satisfaction Guaranteed" sign. When a guy like Pearson is willing to sue $54 million over a pair of pants, you know you have to be thorough. Take that, sucka.
The Chungs, of course, are very pleased with the judge's decision. Here's the official press release from Manning & Sossamon, their attorneys:
Judge Judith Bartnoff ruled resoundingly in favor of the Chungs and Custom Cleaners this morning with a full defense verdict and an award of costs to the Chungs. The Chungs are very pleased with Judge Bartnoff's decision.There will be a press conference today, Monday, June 25th at 1:00pm ET at Custom Cleaners, located at 3174 1/2 Bladensburg Rd, NE, Washington DC. And get this: since Custom Cleaners will be open for business, the Chungs ask that you please respect their business hours and not arrive before 12:45pm. If I were them, I'd take the day off. They plan on returning to their regular lives and running their dry cleaning business as usual. Today's verdict marks the end of a ridiculous nightmare for them, that never should've occurred in the first place.
Importantly, there is a distinction between an award of costs versus an award of attorney's fees. Costs relate only to the hard costs of the litigation, such as filing fees and transcript charges, and not attorney's fees. As the Court noted, a request for an award of attorney's fees is only appropriate after a verdict is rendered. We will request that the Court award the Chungs attorney's fees later this week. However, any payment of costs or attorney's fees would be suspending pending any appeal of the verdict.
Through her verdict, Judge Bartnoff has spoken loudly in suggesting that, while consumers should be protected, abusive lawsuits like this will not be tolerated. Judge Bartnoff has chosen common sense and reasonableness over irrationality and unbridled venom. Simply put, Judge Bartnoff got it right.
Unfortunately, however, this emotionally and financially burdensome ordeal is likely not over for the Chungs--we fully expect Mr. Pearson to file a Notice of Appeal within the 30 day timeframe for doing so which starts to run today.
In order to help alleviate the financial toll and business setbacks the Chungs have suffered as a result of Mr. Pearson's lawsuit, the US Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform and the American Tort Reform Association will co-host a fundraiser for the Chung family on Tuesday, July 24, 2007 from 6:00-7:30pm at the US Chamber of Commerce building located at 1615 H Street, NW, Washington, DC. This event will be open to the public. To learn more about the Chungs' fundraiser, please visit www.ChungFundraiser.com which should be fully operational later today.