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$54 Million “Pants-Suit” Judge Might Lose Job

From the Washington Post:

First, Pants Man Loses Case. Next, His Job.

By the middle of next week, Roy Pearson, the D.C. administrative law judge who sued his neighborhood dry cleaners for $54 million and lost, will receive a letter that starts the process of putting him out of a job.

City sources tell me that a marathon meeting of the commission that reviews the performance of administrative law judges (ALJs) ended last night with unanimous agreement to meet again next Monday to revise and finalize the wording of a letter that will state the panel’s doubts about granting Pearson the 10-year reappointment that he has been seeking throughout the last months of his battle against Custom Cleaners and its owners, the Chung family.

The panel had expected to complete work on the Pearson case last night, but discussions were complicated by a series of conflicting recommendations to the Commission on Selection and Tenure of ALJs by the chief ALJ, Tyrone Butler. In rapid succession this spring, Butler told the commission that “I do not oppose” Pearson’s reappointment, that “I recommend reappointment,” and that “I do not recommend” reappointment, according to sources who have seen the letters…

Within the commission, the discussion about Pearson’s future has focused on when and whether it is right to measure a judge’s performance by his behavior outside the courtroom. The panel looked specifically at whether Pearson’s extraordinary zeal in pursuing the case against the Chungs was so frivolous and embarrassing to the judicial system that it should be taken as evidence of his lack of judicial temperment [sic]. “A judge has a right to bring a lawsuit like any other citizen,” said a source close to the commission, “but he doesn’t have a First Amendment right to bring a frivolous lawsuit.”

The commission is expected to address the Chung case specifically in its letter to Pearson, pointing out that his no-holds-barred pursuit of mega-millions in a case stemming from a $10.50 alteration on a pair of suit pants raises serious questions about his judicial temperment [sic] and raises public questions about judicial ethics and standards.

Following receipt of the letter, Pearson would then have the right to a hearing before the commission. Only after that hearing would the commission formally move to end Pearson’s tenure as a judge. Pearson has not been sitting as a judge since the end of April, when his first term on the bench expired. Rather, he is now technically considered an “attorney advisor” to the Office of Administrative Hearings. Asked what Pearson does in that position, a high-ranking city official said, “Zippo.”

As satisfying as it would be to see Pearson lose his post over his obsessive pursuit of the Chungs, the downside for the owners of the dry cleaners is that with Pearson out of a job, their chances of ever recovering the court fees that Pearson has already been assessed and the attorney’s fees that he may yet be ordered to pay would be severely diminished.. 

It seems safe to say that a man who bursts out crying in open court whilst describing the trauma of being given the wrong pants is lacking in “judicial temperament” [sic]. And much else.

But he will probably retain his phoney baloney job.

Which is the real crime here.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, August 3rd, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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