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Judge in pants lawsuit sues to get job back

  • Story Highlights
  • Roy Pearson accuses the city government of an "unlawful demotion" and termination
  • He sought $54 million from a small family-owned dry cleaners over lost trousers
  • A judge found in favor of the dry cleaners
  • Pearson was taken off the bench in May 2007
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From Paul Courson
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The former judge who last year lost a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against a dry cleaners over a missing pair of pants wants his job back.

Roy Pearson sued the owners of this dry cleaning business for $54 million over a missing pair of pants.

Roy Pearson was not reappointed after his term expired as an administrative law judge in the District of Columbia.

He filed a lawsuit Thursday in federal court accusing city government and others of an "unlawful demotion and subsequent termination."

Pearson was taken off the bench in May 2007, during his unsuccessful $54 million lawsuit against a dry cleaning business, which he accused of failing to meet its promise of "satisfaction guaranteed."

As an administrative law judge, Pearson would hear cases involving zoning law and certain business disputes.

A city panel that decides reappointments had notified Pearson during the controversial lost trousers trial that his status was under review.

A source on that panel said at the time that any judge must meet certain standards of conduct "on and off the bench."

The source, who was among the members of the panel at the time of Pearson's review, said "a judge is a judge 24/7; whether or not they use good judgment in all aspects of their lives is what we can consider."

The civil case, in which Pearson represented himself, sought punitive and compensatory damages against a small family-owned dry cleaners that once posted signs promising "satisfaction guaranteed."

A pair of trousers that hung by the witness stand was a featured part of the trial last summer. The owners testified that the pants belonged to Pearson, who denied under oath that they were his.

The judge found in favor of the dry cleaners and disagreed with Pearson that the satisfaction promise was unconditional. Pearson petitioned the trial judge for a reconsideration, which was denied. He then filed an appeal with the D.C. Court of Appeals, which will hear his appeal later this year.

In court documents made available Friday at U.S. District Court in Washington, Pearson, again acting as his own attorney, relies on what he considers Washington's "Whistleblower Protection" law to try to establish illegal retaliation.

The trial over the lost trousers generated a storm of criticism among fairness advocates, who accused Pearson of abusing the system. The latest litigation has begun to produce the same reaction.

"He lost his job because he proved he did not have the legal requirements to fill the job, namely a judicial temperament," said Darren McKinney of the American Tort Reform Association.

Pearson did not return a message left at home.

In his suit seeking to regain his job, he also seeks "compensatory damages in an amount to be determined at trial, in excess of $75,000 from all defendants jointly and severally," as well as an unspecified amount of punitive damages "to be determined at trial."

Efforts to seek reaction from the individuals named in the lawsuit were unsuccessful. No initial hearing date has been set in the civil case assigned to U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

All About Roy PearsonAmerican Tort Reform Association

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