WASHINGTON – The owners of a dry cleaner who were sued for $54 million over a missing pair of pants have closed and sold the shop involved in the dispute, their attorney said Wednesday.
The South Korean immigrants are citing a loss of revenue and the emotional strain of defending the lawsuit. They will focus their energy on another dry-cleaning shop they still own, said their attorney, Chris Manning.
"This is a truly tragic example of how devastating frivolous litigation can be to the American people and to small businesses," Manning said in a statement.
Soo Chung and her husband, Jin Nam Chung, faced more than two years of litigation after a former customer at Custom Cleaners alleged they had lost a pair of his pants, then sued for $67 million under the District of Columbia's strict consumer protection act.
Plaintiff Roy L. Pearson, a local administrative law judge, later lowered his demand to $54 million. He said the "Satisfaction Guaranteed" and "Same Day Service" signs that once hung in the shop were misleading and fraudulent.
The case went to trial in June and a D.C. Superior Court judge ruled in favor of the Chungs, awarding Pearson nothing. Pearson is pursuing an appeal.
The Chungs incurred more than $100,000 in legal expenses, which were eventually paid with help from fundraisers and donations.
Even after the trial ended favorably, Manning said, the Chungs lost customers and revenue. They have now closed two of their three businesses since the lawsuit began, he said.
Pearson did not respond to an e-mail from The Associated Press seeking comment.