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.

More discussion: Peter Lattman, Joe Gandleman, Betsy Newmark, Walter Olson

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Triumph says:

    Still, it’s amazing that an abusive tort system can be used to wreck people’s lives in this manner.

    Bush needs to declare Judge Pearson an Enemy Combatant and lock him away in Gitmo without counsel for his abuse of the legal system.

    That will teach him to bite the hand that feeds him.

  2. Anderson says:

    I keep this Voltaire quote above my computer:

    “I was ruined only twice in my life: once when I lost a lawsuit, and the other when I won one.”

  3. Kent says:

    Another good argument for “loser pays.”