WASHINGTON, D.C. — Judge Roy Pearson, the plaintiff in the $54 million lost-pants lawsuit against Custom Cleaners, broke down and cried during testimony in D.C. Superior Court last week, before reducing his claim to a comparatively reasonable $2.5 million.
“Never before in recorded history has a group of defendants engaged in such misleading and unfair business practices,” Pearson said in his opening statement. He then presented eight witnesses who related unhappy experiences with Custom Cleaners.
Representing operators So Jin and Soo Chung in Pearson v. Chung, Christopher Manning, of D.C. firm Manning & Sossamon, depicted Pearson as a litigious and vengeful person. Under cross-examination, none of the plaintiff’s witnesses said they would have rejected compensation for any problems.
Pearson then recounted how Soo Chung insisted she had located the lost pants, presenting a pair of cuffed trousers. Pearson claimed never to have worn pants with cuffs, then requested a court recess and walked out in tears.
Members of the Korean Dry Cleaners Association (KDCA) and a phalanx of reporters appeared for Pearson v. Custom Cleaners, which began last Tuesday. The case has drawn considerable attention from mainstream media outlets for the incredible size of the claim.
Pearson reduced his claims from $65 million to $54 million before the trial began, and now says he will settle for $2 million in damages plus $500,000 in legal fees for representing himself. The trial concluded last Wednesday, and Judge Judith Bartnoff will rule on the case by the end of this week.