Pants suit attorney back

February 1, 2010
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Roy Pearson Jr., famous for his $54 million suit over a lost pair of pants, has some issues and they aren’t just legal ones.

He either craves attention, believes everyone is out to get him, or has issues with reality based on his latest news-making endeavor.

Pearson shot to fame in 2005 as the Washington, D.C., administrative law judge who sued his dry cleaner for losing a pair of his pants. He wanted more than $50 million dollars for his pants. He lost the suit, and then wasn’t re-appointed to a full 10-year term as an ALJ.

That led to a suit in federal court, claiming that he was retaliated against for suing the dry cleaners. The judge in his retaliation suit, U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle, is now a target for an appeal in Pearson’s suit. She dismissed his suit, but in his appeal, he thinks Judge Huvelle should have recused herself from the suit because two of the defendants, members of the commission who voted to not re-appoint him, are on the D.C. Superior Court where she used to work before going to the federal bench. But she didn’t even work with one of the judges while on Superior Court.

He also bases his argument on a photograph. The photo shows Judge Huvelle in a "smiling, arm-in arm ‘sisterhood’" with Superior Court Judge Anita Josey-Herring, who was on the court for three years with Judge Huvelle before she moved on to the federal bench in 1999.

The photo in question was taken at an annual Law Day dinner program hosted by the Washington Bar Association after his suit was filed. He submitted the picture in his brief, and it’s a photo of six smiling women with their arms around each others shoulders. The two judges in question aren’t even standing next to each other.

But it could be a moot point because District attorneys want Pearson’s 89-page brief tossed because it’s too long. Pearson claimed this was his first brief filed in D.C. Circuit Court, it was a good faith mistake, and the city’s lawyers are attempting to wear him down and make it financially impossible to bring the case to trial. Did I mention Pearson filed the suit pro se?

Pearson is listed as an active member of the D.C. Bar Association and was admitted to the bar in 1978. According to the bar’s Web site, he’s never been disciplined.

Sure, on one hand, Pearson’s actions around the pants suit and subsequent claims in his new suit are amusing. Who sues for millions of dollars over a lost pair of pants, breaks down in court while talking about the emotional pain of receiving the wrong pair of pants from the dry cleaners, and wants attorney’s fees when representing himself in court? He allegedly wanted more than $400 an hour in fees! Now he’s claiming a photo at a legal organization event shows “sisterhood” between two judges and requires recusal.

But on the other hand, it troubles me how self-absorbed and vindictive he seems, as well as emotionally unstable. I hope he hasn’t had any clients beyond himself lately. To cry over a pair of pants seems a bit much. To question a judge’s impartiality based on one photo seems a bit much. Plus, as an attorney, he’s getting a lot of press for his suits and these suits may taint the image of attorneys or reinforce negative stereotypes some members of the public may have about attorneys.
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  2. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  3. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  4. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  5. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

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