Judge Who Filed Suit Plans to Appeal Defeat

By Henri E. Cauvin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Pants Judge isn't giving up.

A day after the dry cleaners he sued tried to make peace, D.C. Administrative Law Judge Roy Pearson filed notice yesterday that he plans to appeal the verdict against him to the District's highest court.

The owners of Custom Cleaners in Northeast Washington had hoped to head off Pearson by withdrawing their demand that he pay tens of thousands of dollars in attorney fees and prevailing on him to let the case lie.

But yesterday morning, a day before the deadline for filing his notice of appeal, Pearson submitted the requisite paperwork to take the case to the D.C. Court of Appeals. Pearson's $54 million suit arose from a dispute over a pair of pants that he said were lost.

So the case of Pearson v. Chung will remain alive, sustained by a two-page filing and a $100 fee.

Pearson spurned the olive branch offered Monday by the owners, Soo Chung and her family. Saying they had raised enough money from supporters to cover their legal costs, the Chungs said they saw little reason to keep the case alive and asked Pearson to forgo an appeal.

An attorney for the Chungs, Christopher C.S. Manning, said yesterday that Pearson missed an opportunity. "Mr. Pearson had a choice today -- to make peace and acknowledge the Chungs' amazing generosity in absolving him of paying their fees or to continue with this ridiculous case and meritless appeal," he said.

Meanwhile, Pearson has his job to worry about. Since his initial two-year term expired this year, Pearson has been awaiting a decision on his application for a full 10-year term. Last week, the commission that oversees administrative law judges in the District sent him a letter informing him that he might not be reappointed to the bench. A vote is likely at the commission's meeting next month.

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