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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  1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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