A judge on Monday ruled in favor of a dry cleaner that was sued for $54 million over a missing pair of pants in a case that garnered international attention and renewed calls for litigation reform.
District of Columbia Superior Court Judge Judith Bartnoff ruled that the Korean immigrant owners of Custom Cleaners did not violate the city's Consumer Protection Act by failing to live up to Roy L. Pearson's expectations of the "Satisfaction Guaranteed" sign that was once placed in the store window.
"Plaintiff Roy L. Pearson, Jr. takes nothing from the defendants, and defendants Soo Chung, Jin Nam Chung and Ki Y. Chung are awarded the costs of this action against the plaintiff Roy L. Pearson, Jr.," the ruling read.
Pearson, an administrative law judge, originally sought $67 million from the Chungs after he claimed they lost a pair of suit trousers and later tried to return a pair that he said was not his. He arrived at the figure by adding up years of law violations and almost $2 million in common law claims. Pearson later dropped demands for damages related to the pants and focused his claims on signs in the shop, which have since been removed.
Chris Manning, the Chungs' attorney, countered that no reasonable person would interpret the signs to be an unconditional promise of satisfaction.
The two-day trial earlier this month drew a standing-room-only crowd, including many Korean and international media outlets covering the story. It even overshadowed the drunken driving trial of former Mayor Marion Barry.
The Chungs also said the trial had taken an enormous financial and emotional toll on them and exposed them to widespread ridicule.