Pants Lawsuit Dry Cleaners Shuts Down
Custom Cleaners, made nationally famous because an idiot judge sued them for $67 million for losing a pair of his pants, is going out of business, Marc Fisher reports.
“They were just tired of the whole ordeal,” the Chungs’ daughter-in-law, Soo Choi, told me today. “A lot of people view this comically because the case is so outrageous, but my mother-in-law has gone down four dress sizes from this whole ordeal. They just want to put this in their past.”
In addition to the heavy emotional toll, the lawsuit proved to be a big drag on revenues at Custom Cleaners, located on Bladensburg Road NE. When Pearson first started gathering material for his aggressive legal battle, he posted fliers on light poles all around the Fort Lincoln neighborhood, asking residents if they had been ripped off by Custom and announcing his own displeasure with the service there. Business declined significantly after that and never rebounded, said Choi and the Chungs’ lawyer, Christopher Manning. “You’d think the trial and all the publicity would have a good effect on business,” Manning said, “but for a dry cleaner, it really doesn’t, because your customers are from the immediate neighborhood.”
The Chungs have raised a substantial amount of money in donations and are still going to keep their original store, Happy Cleaners, across town. Still, it’s amazing that an abusive tort system can be used to wreck people’s lives in this manner. It’s a classic case, though, of the old legal aphorism that “the process is the punishment.” Quite often, you lose even when you win.