- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 14, 2007

ASSOCIATED PRESS

The owners of a dry cleaner who were sued for $54 million over a missing pair of pants have raised enough money to pay most of their legal fees, according to a court motion filed yesterday.

Jin Nam Chung and Soo Chung, the owners of Custom Cleaners, had sought $82,772 from Roy Pearson to recover the costs of successfully defending themselves from the 2005 lawsuit, which they considered frivolous.

Mr. Pearson responded Friday with a motion that stated that the Chungs failed “to provide factual or legal support for their motion” and that his lawsuit had merit.

Mr. Pearson, a local administrative law judge, had claimed that the “Satisfaction Guaranteed” sign that once hung in the Chungs” shop was misleading and violated the District”s consumer protection act. A pair of his pants went missing, but a week later, the store owners said they were found.

Mr. Pearson denied that they were his pants and sued. His lawsuit originally demanded $67 million but was reduced to $54 million. The case went to trial in June.

The filing yesterday by the Chungs” attorneys said a cocktail fundraiser last month brought in $70,000. The money, combined with other donations, raised enough cash to cover most of the Chungs” expenses. The defendants said they wanted to put the matter behind them and urged Mr. Pearson not to appeal a trial judge”s verdict against him in the case.

“Defendants” lives have been devastated by this case and they want nothing more than to quietly return to running their dry cleaning business,” the motion states.

Organizers of the funraiser said they also wanted to raise visibility for tort reform in the face of lawsuits that unfairly target small businesses.

“Our motto is the spirit of free enterprise,” said Lisa Rickard, president of the Institute for Legal Reform. “The Chungs epitomize that in our perspective. They’ve really been living the American dream, and that all came to a halt with the filing of this lawsuit.”