Follow up

Here’s a little follow up on some of my recent posts.

1. The Emperor’s New Pants

You may remember Roy Pearson as the US Administrative Law Judge who is suing his dry-cleaners for US$64M over a pair of suit pants, which were allegedly lost.

Well, believe it or not, they’ve gone to trial. Pearson hasn’t seen the light and settled. Perhaps he’s so far in that he can’t see a way to back down gracefully.

The drawing above is by AP, taken from the Sydney Morning Herald’s article on the topic. Pearson is on the left, the Chung family are on the right.

Apparently Pearson broke down in tears on the witness box when discussing the emotional distress he had suffered, including a divorce and financial troubles. If I were a judge, that wouldn’t impress me. Surely Pearson can’t be saying a pair of lost trousers caused his divorce and financial troubles? If he’s not saying that, how on earth are his divorce and financial troubles relevant to his claim?

I know US law has a concept whereby injury can be too remote for a plaintiff to make a successful claim. I seem to recall Justice Cardozo in Palsgraf v. Long Island Railroad Co 162 N.E. 99 (N.Y.C.A. 1928) said that you can’t be liable for damage that is unforeseeable or too remote. That case involved a woman who was injured by a set of scales falling on her head. How did the scales fall on her head? Well you might ask! I just can’t stop myself from relating the facts to you, because they are crazy. A passenger was being helped onto a train by a conductor, when the conductor caused the passenger to drop the package he was carrying, which was a simple package wrapped in brown paper. Unbeknown to the conductor, the package contained fireworks, and they exploded when they fell onto the rails. The resultant shock wave apparently dislodged a pair of scales which were hanging on the wall at the other end of the platform, and the scales fell on Mrs Palsgraf’s head and injured her. The train company was not liable, according to a majority of the New York Court of Appeal.

Legal Eagle will be watching this space to see what happens. I sure hope Pearson goes down. And gets a major costs order awarded against him.

2. Ginger kids are human too

Hot on the tail of the sad story of the Chapman family (bullied for being ginger haired) comes advice that teasing red heads in the workplace could constitute bullying. So leave those ginger kids alone! Yeah!

(Thanks to the lovely Oanh for the link to this one).



Filed under courts, crazy stuff, law, red hair, tort law, USA

15 responses to “Follow up

  1. I can’t believe that the “Case of the Missing Pants” actually went to trial. Could it be that the pants were well educated and are losing lost earnings? What a ridiculous situation!

  2. GavinM

    I can’t believe that a judge of all people would be bringing a claim for such a ridiculous amount of money…Is there not a law which deals with mischevious litigation or something.

    I saw this story on the news last night, and I’m sure that it said that the case has been going on for 2 years…Is this true ? If so, is the judge just trying to cause the Dry-cleaners the maximum amount of trouble and cost them as much in legal fees as he possibly can ?

    I’m with you LE, I hope he loses, gets costs awarded against him, and I hope the Dry-cleaners can then sue him for a ridiculous mount of money for the stress, pain and uffering that he has caused them.

  3. GavinM


    I really hate it when the keys stick…

  4. Betty, NOTHING would surprise me with this guy. Who knows, perhaps the pants are alleged to have an earning capacity of which he has been deprived?

    GavinM, there is indeed a law (in Australia at least) which deals with baseless claims. Unfortunately, you’ve got to be pretty crazy before a court will be willing to block your right to bring legal action. Once you are blocked, you have to seek the leave of the court to file any further proceedings (it’s called being declared a “vexatious litigant)”. Mr Pearson ain’t quite there yet – maybe if he issues another five baseless claims and generally irritates all and sundry?

    If I were the presiding judge, I’d indicate to Mr Pearson that, regardless of the merits or demerits of his specific claim (loss of trousers), I thought he was wasting the court’s time on the rest of it. I’d then make a nasty comment about costs.

    That’s why you really need independent legal counsel – someone to talk you out of pushing on when all hope is gone!

  5. LDU

    Ahhh…Palsgraf. Some cases you never will forget.

  6. You could say that this story has legs….

  7. LDU: It’s funny how some cases stick in your head, isn’t it?

    Iain: this story just keeps on running! 😉

  8. Considering that we a talking about trousers will it it Zip through the court and Fly?

  9. Oh dear, oh dear, the potential for terrible double entendres would be too much for me to resist if I were counsel in this case. Probably just as well I didn’t go to the Bar.

  10. You’re welcome.


  11. pete m

    The worst example of double entrende was Chris Nyst with the budgie smuggling case. WORST ever!

    This “judge” is a pathetic loser and does harm to the justice system – I hope he not only loses but cops the biggest ever roasting from the Court.

  12. GavinM

    I suppose I could say that I hope he gets “pantsed”…

  13. It seems very sad to me. Knowing less about US law than I do about Oz law my concern is that if the plaintiff loses, as I assume he will, he may also be a man of financial straw and have no means to pay the hapless defendents who will have incurred losses in the thou$and$ and knowing usa possibly in the million$ and be ruined forever.

    Why are these things allowed to go ahead?

  14. I believe that people are getting a defence fund together for the Chungs. I really hope that they don’t end up too much out of pocket because of this joker.

    I think that large tracts of Mr Pearson’s claim should have been struck out as unmeritorious and ridiculous. If I had been the presiding judge, I would have done so.

  15. -k.

    I heard on the radio this morning that this case has been thrown out.

    Have you heard anything to this effect, LE?

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