By Del Quentin Wilber
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit brought by Roy L. Pearson Jr., the former D.C. administrative law judge whose $54 million lawsuit against a dry-cleaning business generated international headlines.
Pearson filed the suit in May 2008, alleging that the D.C. government broke the law in refusing to reappoint him to a 10-year term as an administrative law judge.
The decision not to reappoint Pearson followed media reports describing Pearson's lawsuit against Custom Cleaners, which he claimed had misplaced a pair of his pants.
The District's Commission on Selection and Tenure of Administrative Law Judges cited Pearson's temperament and prudence on the bench in not giving him the job. Administrative law judges hear cases involving city agencies and commissions.
In his lawsuit filed in the District's federal court, Pearson alleged that the commission was retaliating against him for exposing internal problems to the D.C. Council and for filing his lawsuit against Custom Cleaners. Both actions, Pearson said, were protected by the First Amendment. He also claimed that the commission did not give him a fair chance to fight its decision.
In a 37-page opinion issued Thursday, U.S. District Judge Ellen S. Huvelle rejected all of Pearson's arguments. She characterized Pearson's lawsuit against Custom Cleaners as a "personal vendetta."
Pearson, who represented himself in federal court, also lost his lawsuit against the owners of Custom Cleaners, which closed under the weight of legal bills. He could not be located for comment Tuesday.