The other day I mentioned the story of the judge in D.C. who has claimed $65 million in damages in a dispute over a pair of pants. In today’s D.C. Examiner, the president of the American Tort Reform Association says ATRA has written an open letter to the D.C. Administrative Law Commission suggesting that the judge’s reappointment—to a 10-year term—be reconsidered.
He also offers to buy the judge a new pair of pants if he will drop the lawsuit.
Actually, ATRA’s gone beyond that and offered a whole new suit (business suit, not lawsuit) in exchange for a dismissal. Full disclosure—ATRA is a client of our firm, and its general counsel Victor Schwartz is a partner in our D.C. office. But I think this report is consistent both with ATRA’s objective of furthering the tort-reform agenda, and my personal goal of publicizing a $65 million lawsuit about a pair of pants.
In the Examiner article, Sherman Joyce of ATRA stated that the “pants were found long ago and are readily available” to Judge Pearson (whether they still fit may be another question), and that the judge’s $65 million demand was “wholly outrageous and abusive.” Joyce also quoted former NLRB chief administrative law judge Melvin Welles, who wrote in a letter to the Washington Post today that Judge Pearson should be removed from his current position and should be disbarred from any bar to which he currently belongs.
Joyce warned the commission that if the lawsuit is allowed to go forward and the judge is retained, that the matter will “become fodder for late-night comics.” It’s probably too late to avoid that, but maybe not too late for some damage control.