- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Judge won’t review lost-pants verdict

A judge who ruled in favor of a dry cleaner that was sued for $54 million over a missing pair of pants yesterday denied a request to reconsider the verdict, ruling that the plaintiff failed to present “any new argument” in the case.

Roy L. Pearson argued last week that D.C. Superior Court Judge Judith Bartnoff failed to address his legal claims when she ruled that the business owners did not violate the city’s consumer protection law by failing to live up to his expectations of a “Satisfaction Guaranteed” sign once displayed in the store.

“The plaintiff’s motion for reconsideration reargues matters that already were presented in his pretrial statement, his trial brief, and his arguments at trial,” Judge Bartnoff wrote.

Mr. Pearson, an administrative law judge, still can take the matter to the D.C. Court of Appeals. Defense attorney Chris Manning said he expects Mr. Pearson to appeal the ruling as well as any favorable ruling on the family’s motion to recover attorney fees.

The case, which drew international attention, began in 2005 when Mr. Pearson took several suits for alterations to Custom Cleaners.

A pair of pants from one suit was missing when he went back two days later. A week later, the store owners said the pants had been found, but Mr. Pearson said they weren’t his and filed a lawsuit.

Mr. Pearson originally sought $67 million in his lawsuit, which was based on a strict interpretation of the city’s consumer protection law. The lawsuit also included damages for inconvenience, mental anguish and attorney fees for representing himself.

Capitol workers settle whistleblower case

Ten U.S. Capitol steamfitters have settled a whistleblower retaliation case against the Architect of the Capitol.

The workers complained of asbestos exposure in the tunnels where they worked. They said the Architect of the Capitol retaliated by describing them as troublemakers to members of Congress, threatening their jobs and cutting off supplies they needed to work in an environment where temperatures can exceed 130 degrees.

The amount of money involved and other terms of the settlement were not revealed, but attorney David J. Marshall called the out-of-court settlement a “big victory for federal workers.”

Architect of the Capitol spokeswoman Eva Malecki said that although details will remain confidential, “each settlement resolves the reprisal and other claims to the parties’ mutual satisfaction.”

The 10 workers were responsible for maintaining the plumbing that provides steam and chilled water to Congress, the Library of Congress, the Supreme Court and other federal buildings, and they work for the Architect of the Capitol.

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