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Sunday, April 21, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Court Rejects $54 Million Claim Over Missing Pants

(CN) - An attorney who demanded $54 million for a pair of missing pants lost something else this week - his appeal. A D.C. appeals court refused to revive Roy L. Pearson's lawsuit against the owners of the dry-cleaning shop where the pants purportedly disappeared.

Pearson was upset that Soo Chung and Jin Nam Chung, owners of Custom Cleaning, allegedly lost his pants and then tried to pass off another pair as his. He said he easily spotted the ersatz pair, because they had cuffs when his expensive Hickey Freeman pair didn't.

Soo Chung insisted that the pants were indeed Pearson's, and that she remembered the elastic waistband well.

Pearson slapped the Chungs with a multimillion-dollar lawsuit, alleging fraud and violations of the District of Columbia's consumer-protection laws.

Pearson said the cleaner's failure to make amends breached its promise of "satisfaction guaranteed," a policy etched on a door sign.

He argued that the sign was an unconditional guarantee, requiring the merchant to meet a dissatisfied customer's demand for "any amount of money."

The appeals court said the trial court showed "basic common sense" in rejecting such a sweeping view of the sign.

Instead, a warranty only promises what it would mean to a reasonable customer, the court concluded.

The judges added that it didn't matter whether Pearson's claims are considered common-law fraud or consumer-protection violations, because Pearson "failed to establish the underlying factual basis for relief."

The court also rejected his claim that the "same-day service" sign was false unless same-day service was always and automatically provided.

That argument "frankly defies logic," Judge Kramer wrote.

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