WASHINGTON, D.C. — The backlash against what many inside and outside the industry consider a frivolous lawsuit has resulted in the establishment of a legal defense fund on behalf of Washington, D.C.’s Custom Cleaners.
Filed last week by Washington, D.C., judge Roy Pearson, the lawsuit seeks $65 million in compensation for a single lost pair of pants. Pearson arrived at the astronomical figure through a strict interpretation of District consumer-protection laws, tripled it by filing suit against operators So Jin and Soo Chung and their son, and tacked on additional car-rental, mental anguish and legal fees.
The Chungs — distraught after more than five years of disputes with Pearson and numerous settlement offers — say that they may close the operation and move back to Seoul, Korea. Hearings are scheduled to begin early next month.
“They’re out a lot of money, but more importantly, incredibly disenchanted with the system,” Chris Manning, the Chung’s counsel and a partner in D.C.’s Manning & Sossaman firm, told the Associated Press. “This has destroyed their lives.”
Following the widely-reported story, the Chungs have benefited from a “groundswell of support,” the firm says, resulting in establishment of the defense fund. To contribute, visit www.customcleanersdefensefund.com.