On December 18, 2008, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals ruled resoundingly in favor of the Chung family and denied Mr. Roy Pearson’s appeal of the case completely. The DC Court of Appeals held that the trial court correctly ruled that Mr. Pearson’s claims had no merit whatsoever.
Mr. Jin Chung said “We are very very happy with the result and thank everyone for supporting us. The past three years have been very difficult but we hope this nightmare is finally over.” The Chungs also hope the vague and often unfair DC Consumer Protection Act (which was the primary statutory basis for the lawsuit) will be changed so that others do not suffer like they did.
On December 23, 2008, Mr. Pearson requested that the appeal be heard again by the entire panel of DC Court of Appeals judges but that request was denied on March 2, 2009. Mr. Pearson has chosen not to petition for an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
- Pearson v. Chung was a District of Columbia civil lawsuit brought by Mr. Roy L. Pearson that named three defendants: Jin Chung, Soo Chung and their son, Ki Chung. Mr. Pearson, an attorney and now former DC Administrative Law Judge, representes himself. The Chungs were represented by Christopher C. S. Manning of Manning & Sossamon law firm.
- The Chung family immigrated to the United States from South Korea in 1992 in search of prosperity and the American dream. After years of hard work and saving, the Chungs opened a small pick-up only dry cleaning store called Happy Cleaners in 1997. In 2000, they were able to open another larger store—Custom Cleaners. Custom Cleaners is the store which is the subject of Mr. Pearson’s lawsuit.
- Mr. Pearson alleged that on May 3, 2005 he left a pair of pants with the Chungs to be altered by May 5, 2005. The pants he submitted were grey in color and were unique in that they had a succession of three belt loops very close together on each side of the front waistband of the pants.
- The Chungs offered the altered grey pants to Mr. Pearson a few days after the May 5, 2005 deadline due to the pants having been initially routed to their other store.
- Mr. Pearson was angered by the fact that the pants were late and refused to accept his pants from the Chungs even though (1) the pants had the same unique belt loop configuration as the pants he originally submitted; (2) the pants’ measurements were identical to the measurements he requested for the alteration; and, (3) the tag number on the pants matched his receipt.
- When the Chungs would not meet his initial demand of over $1,000 as compensation for his pants, Mr. Pearson filed a lawsuit in the District of Columbia Superior Court.
- Mr. Pearson alleged a variety of claims in his lawsuit, including: (1) that the Chungs misled him, in that they lost his pants but tried to return to him a pair of pants that did not belong to him; and, (2) that certain signs in Custom Cleaners reading “Satisfaction Guaranteed” and “Same Day Service” were misleading.
- The Chungs asserted that the pants they offered to Mr. Pearson belong to him. Furthermore, the Chungs denied that their signs were misleading to a reasonable person.
- The Chungs requested that this matter be dismissed. However, the judge decided that this case should go to trial because, among other things, there are two factual issues in dispute: (1) whether the grey pants offered to Mr. Pearson did, in fact, belong to him; and, (2) whether the signage that hung in Custom Cleaners was misleading.
- In the March 2007 formal Pretrial Statement, Mr. Pearson claimed $67,292,000 in damages. Just prior to trial, Mr. Pearson reduced his claim to over $54,000,000.
- The Chungs asserted that they owe Mr. Pearson the grey pants they still have available for him and nothing else.
- The Chungs made three settlement offers—$3,000, $4,600 and $12,000. Importantly, these settlement offers were strategically made in a way so that, if Mr. Pearson did not recover more than these amounts at trial, then he will have to pay the Chungs’ court costs for this case.
- DC Superior Court Judge Judith Bartnoff ruled resoundingly in favor of the Chungs and Custom Cleaners on June 25, 2007 with a full defense verdict.
- Mr. Roy L. Pearson appealed Judge Bartnoff’s verdict to the DC Court of Appeals in August 2007. On December 18, 2008, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals ruled resoundingly in favor of the Chung family and denied Mr. Pearson’s appeal of the case completely. The DC Court of Appeals held that the trial court correctly ruled that Mr. Pearson’s claims had no merit whatsoever. On December 23, 2008, Mr. Pearson requested that the appeal be heard again by the entire panel of DC Court of Appeals judges but that request was denied on March 2, 2009. Mr. Pearson has chosen not to petition for an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
- Sadly, the Chungs were forced to close Custom Cleaners in September 2007 due to the emotional toll and flagging revenues which resulted from Mr. Pearson’s lawsuit. The Chungs now operate only one small pick-up dry cleaning store called Happy Cleaners located at 1119 7th Street, NW in Washington, DC.