All spring I avoided writing about the case of administrative law judge Roy L. Pearson, Jr. suing dry cleaners for $67.3 million over a pair of lost pants. I responded in the same way to the ten students (at least) who sent me articles about the lawsuit: it is a stupid case brought by a get-a-life plaintiff that only makes the legal system look bad. The trial, which started yesterday in Washington, D.C., is receiving national attention (Sphere reported as of ten minutes ago 390 blog posts on the case in the past 24 hours, plus a host of news articles) and its corrosive effect cannot be avoided. The trial is a spectacle, from the outlandish attention-grabbing damages calculated at $18,000/day for the four years the dry cleaner’s signs touted “Same Day Service” and “Satisfaction Guaranteed” to Pearson’s delusional self-portrayal “as a ‘private attorney general’ championing the rights of every Washington consumer” (an approach the trial judge flatly rejected) to Pearson’s histrionic tears, which required the trial judge to call a recess, while recounting the day he says the cleaners tried to pass off a cheaper pair of pants as his.”
It’s sad Pearson has no one in his life to make him see that flaunting his personal grudges and psychological imbalance on a national stage had made him an object of ridicule. His two-year term as an ALJ ended recently. Considering the lack of judicial temperment–which is putting it chariably–I’ll be astounded if the judicial panel reappoints him. It’s unfortunate that our legal system is providing the arena for Pearson’s national undressing.