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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