Yes, the Great Pants Lawsuit is on. As previously reported all over the world, including this very blog, Roy L. Pearson Jr., an appointed judge in the District and a dumbass, is suing the Korean-born owners of a local dry cleaning establishment over what he says was the reckless disposition of his favorite pair of suit pants. His asking price for the loss of his precious garment (and the accompanying pain and suffering) was $67 million, but he has since lowered the amount to a more reasonable $54 million. Those astronomical amounts alone made the case an international sensation as people across the globe scratched their heads and wondered if Mr. Pearson has lost his ever-loving mind. It had become a joke to just about everyone except the family Pearson is suing, the Chungs, who had come from Seoul to build for themselves a piece of the American dream, only to see it threatened by what seemed to be the willful machinations of a vindictive madman. Even if they prevail, the court costs alone may force them in to bankruptcy, even their ability to stay in the U.S. Person may be a laughing stock, but the Chungs weren't laughing.
Well, after the first day of the trial, which is covered in great detail by Washington Post columnist Marc Fisher here, I'm still laughing and seething at the same time. It is incredible to me how Pearson, who is representing himself, claims to have spent 1,400 hours of his own time preparing for this case - and has asked to be reimbursed for attorney's fees at the rate more than $400 per hour. (Excuse me ... coughgreedybastardcough.) It boggles my mind how his opening statement including the sentence, "Never before in recorded history have a group of defendants engaged in such misleading and unfair business practices" - and apparently said it with a straight face. I'm flabbergasted that, during his testimony of the horror of his pants going missing, he actually broke down in tears and abruptly left the courtroom before the judge even granted him a recess. And then there's one of Pearson's witnesses, an 89-year-old former WAC who also had problems with the Chungs' service - and went on to compare them to the Nazis.
This seems set to be a two-day trial, which means the Chungs should be able to present their defense today. The presiding judge is Judith Bartnoff; remember that name so you know where to send your hate mail if this thing goes the wrong way. Stay tuned.