Monday, June 25, 2007

Judge Pantsed

You may have read about the DC Administrative judge who sued a Korean laundry for losing his pants. He was appointed to the bench, bought several suits for his new position and took them in to the cleaners for alterations.

When he asked for the suit a few days later, the pants were missing. Since there was a sign in the window guaranteeing satisfaction, this judge asked for the full price of the suit: $1000.00. The pants were found a week later, but the judge said they were the wrong pants. The cleaners offered to settle three times for $1000, $4600 and finally $12000. The judge thought he had cause for a lawsuit and filed for a judgement of $65,000,000. No, I didn't put too many commas and zeroes in that figure. Sixty-five million dollars is what he decided was a fair amount based on a consumer protection law which imposes fines of $1500 per violation, per day - as well as damages for inconvenience, mental anguish, and attorney's fees for representing himself.

However, the DC judge hearing the case decided in favor of the cleaners. The fact that the cleaners guaranteed satisfaction did not mean that they guaranteed a customer's unreasonable demands. The judge also ruled that the administrative judge failed to prove that the pants the cleaners tried to return were not the pants in question. As I recall, the cleaners proved that the pants matched specifics of other alterations done for him by the cleaners. For example, the same inside seam length. I also recall that the pants match the jacket, but the plaintiff claimed he left pants of a different color or style. As a result, not only did he lose the claim, he is now ordered to pay $1000 to the Korean couple for their clerical costs. whether the judge will be ordered to pay their legal fees - in the thousands of dollars - will be decided later.

In my opinion, the judge deciding the case used common sense and made the correct decision. The administrative judge was attempting to take advantage of the very judicial system that he as a judge represents. A reasonable man would have accepted the pants when they were returned. Someone looking for money would have accepted any of the offers by the cleaners. He was extremely unreasonable in his demands. We're talking about a pair of pants, for the love of Mike, not a life. Had the cleaners done something that endangered or cost a life, I might think differently. There are times when a considerable money judgement is all that will make someone understand that what they've done is wrong and someone suffered needlessly by their actions.

This judge has been proven - in a court of law as well as by public opinion - to be greedy and irrational. Judges are supposed to be fair and impartial. We don't need his type - Greedy and irrational - sitting on the bench. How do we know he won't succumb to bribery? How can anyone believe that he can be fair, impartial, and reasonable when judging cases that come before him?

In my opinion he should not only pay the clerical costs the cleaners incurred, but their legal fees as well. Perhaps the cleaners should turn around and sue him for something. Defamation of character or something? I doubt they would though. They have said he is welcome to use their services again. They are better people than I am. If it were me, I'd ban him from the premises. Especially given that this isn't the first lawsuit he's filed. Yes, I admit it, they are better people than I am.

I also think he should be sanctioned by the Bar Association. Disbarment isn't more than I think he deserves. I don't believe this man deserves to sit on a bench of law.

They say a man who represents himself in court has a fool for a client. Well, this is one time the client was taken to the cleaners by the person he chose to represent him.

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