Appeals Court Rejects Request for New Trial in Pants Case

By Keith L. Alexander
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, December 18, 2008; 10:31 AM

The D.C. Court of Appeals this morning rejected Roy L. Pearson Jr.'s request for a new trial regarding his highly publicized $54 million lawsuit against a neighborhood dry cleaners over a pair of lost pants.

Pearson appealed to the court in October to overturn a 2007 ruling that he was not entitled to damages because a Northeast Washington dry cleaner had not lived up to its promises of "Satisfaction Guaranteed" or "Same Day Service."

Pearson, a former District administrative law judge, also argued that he was denied access to having his case heard by a jury.

But the three appellate judges who heard his case -- Phyllis Thompson, Noel Anketell Kramer and Michael W. Farrell -- unanimously agreed that Pearson failed to show that the store's advertised promises amounted to fraud. The judges said Pearson's argument that Customer Cleaners and its owners, Soo and Jin Chung, intentionally committed fraud with their signs "defies logic."

The appeals court supported Judge Judith Bartnoff's initial rejection of Pearson's argument. "Thus the judgment [in favor of the cleaners] was proper," the ruling said. "Further the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying [Pearson's] motion for a jury trial."

The appeals court, the District's highest, must consider all appeals of D.C. Superior Court Decisions.

Pearson has two remaining avenues of appeal left: He could ask the entire nine-judge appellate court to review the case, or ask the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in.

© 2008 The Washington Post Company