Trials & Litigation
Tears Flow as ALJ Presses ‘Pantsuit’
Posted Jun 13, 2007 8:47 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
The administrative law judge who filed a $67 million lawsuit against a dry cleaners that lost his pants cried on the witness stand yesterday.
Roy L. Pearson Jr., a former legal aid lawyer, testified that he wanted to dress nicely for his new job as an ALJ and became annoyed when the cleaners lost his expensive pants, according to the New York Times.
They were Hickey Freemans, he said, and were part of a suit that cost more than $1,150 to replace.
He began to cry as he testified that the business tried to pass off a cheaper pair of pants as his and asked for a break.
D.C. Judge Judith Bartnoff sparred with Pearson over his bid to cast himself as representing area consumers who use or might use the dry cleaners. “You are not a we, you are an I,” she said. “You are seeking damages on your own behalf, and that is all.”
The courtroom was packed with reporters from media outlets in at least five countries, along with a tort reform lobbyist handing out green buttons protesting the “pantsuit,” the Washington Post reports.
Pearson also presented other witnesses who had bad experiences at the cleaners, including an 89-year-old woman who uses a wheelchair. She said the owner of the cleaners chased her out of the store after she complained it looked like her pants had been washed and did not fit.
Defense lawyer Christopher Manning depicts Pearson as a litigious man who is bitter over a recent divorce. He says his clients are hard-working immigrants who are being exploited by Pearson’s intimate knowledge of the legal system.