That’s not a typo: SIXTY-FIVE MILLION DOLLARS!
What did Jin Nam Chung, Ki Chung and their son, Soo Chung do that was so egregrious that District of Columbia administrative hearings judge, Roy Pearson would file this suit against them? They (temporarily) lost a pair of his pants (his suit was purportedly worth approximately $1000).
The Chung family were just pursuing their American dream when they opened their dry-cleaning business seven years ago in Washington, DC. Unfortunately, they have spent the last two years with the litigation of this lawsuit. Is it any wonder they are so disheartened that they are considering moving back to Seoul?
From the story:
According to court documents, the problem began in May 2005 when Pearson became a judge and brought several suits for alteration to Custom Cleaners in Northeast Washington, a place he patronized regularly despite previous disagreements with the Chungs. A pair of pants from one suit was not ready when he requested it two days later, and was deemed to be missing.
Pearson asked the cleaners for the full price of the suit: more than $1,000.
But a week later, the Chungs said the pants had been found and refused to pay. That’s when Pearson decided to sue.
Manning said the cleaners made three settlement offers to Pearson. First they offered $3,000, then $4,600, then $12,000. But Pearson wasn’t satisfied and expanded his calculations beyond one pair of pants.
Because Pearson no longer wanted to use his neighborhood dry cleaner, part of his lawsuit calls for $15,000 — the price to rent a car every weekend for 10 years to go to another business.
“He’s somehow purporting that he has a constitutional right to a dry cleaner within four blocks of his apartment,” Manning said.
But the bulk of the $65 million comes from Pearson’s strict interpretation of D.C.’s consumer protection law, which fines violators $1,500 per violation, per day. According to court papers, Pearson added up 12 violations over 1,200 days, and then multiplied that by three defendants.
Much of Pearson’s case rests on two signs that Custom Cleaners once had on its walls: “Satisfaction Guaranteed” and “Same Day Service.”
Based on Pearson’s dissatisfaction and the delay in getting back the pants, he claims the signs amount to fraud. [full story]
If this isn’t an abuse of the justice system, I don’t know what is. In the article, there is discussion about people calling for this judge to be disbarred. Of all people, this guy should know better.
Defense fund website for the Chungs: http://www.customcleanersdefensefund.com/ (Coming soon)
ABC News Article: http://abcnews.go.com/print?id=3119381
Photo credit: AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin