Lis & the Single Girl: Dry Cleaning Nightmares

Single and fabulous? Well then this is the column for you!

Ever wish you had your own personal Carrie Bradshaw to answer your questions — not just about what to do if your boyfriend dumps you via text message — but serious issues that confront us? This special daily edition of “Lis on Law” will address topics that single women are faced with and that everybody wonders about — but no one has time to figure out.

Between work, working out, dating and maintaining a social life, it’s tough to find time to do much else. So, read up and prepare to be fully armed for brunch this weekend with your friends with some super conversation topics! Your pals will be amazed!

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The dry cleaners lost my favorite dress. While the dress is only worth a few hundred dollars, it has special meaning to me. Can I sue the dry cleaners over this?

If you've seen the latest "Curb Your Enthusiasm" you're familiar with the "law of the dry cleaners" — sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. Comic Larry David got his pants in a twist when the dry cleaners lost a shirt of his. He spent the remainder of the episode in search of the recipient who got his shirt by mistake, eventually asking a perfect stranger he found in a similar jersey to take it all off. While this made for a funny episode, it's not funny in real life for the owners of a D.C dry cleaning establishment who recently gave up their business due to loss of revenue and the emotional strain of defending a lawsuit.

Have you heard the case about the judge who sued his dry cleaners? After a dry cleaning establishment allegedly lost a pair of Judge Pearson's pants, he decided to sue the owners. Pearson first asked to be refunded for the price of the suit, $1,000, which they refused. Pearson then filed suit in 2005 demanding $67 million. The small business offered to settle the case for $12,000 which Pearson refused. Acting in what would appear to be bad faith, Pearson continued the lawsuit. In May 2007, Pearson reduced his demands to $54 million in damages. Among his requests were $500,000 in attorney's fees, $2 million for "discomfort, inconvenience, and mental distress," and $15,000, which he claimed would be the cost to rent a car every weekend to drive to another dry cleaning service. The remaining $51.5 million would be used to help similarly dissatisfied D.C. consumers sue businesses. Pearson also alleged fraud due to the signs in the window which read "satisfaction guaranteed" and "same day service."

During the trial, the plaintiff broke down in tears over his frustration about his loss. However, even with the water works, the judge ruled in favor of the dry cleaners. The court then noted Pearson's apparent bad faith and sanctioned him $12,000 for creating unnecessary litigation. The court then even threatened to disbar his attorney for her hand in this frivolous lawsuit.

The owners of this business are South Korean immigrants, Jin Nam Chung, Soo Chung and their son, Ki Chung. After coming to America for the so-called American Dream, they are considering moving back to Seoul after this "American Nightmare" ensued. The Chungs incurred nearly $83,000 in attorneys fees which luckily due to public support and fundraising have been paid off.

After the "Great American Pants Suit," I think its clear that this lawsuit was not worth all the frustration. While its quite frustrating when you lose one of your favorite outfits, remember its just stuff. Its replaceable clothing and I know I might be whistling a different tune if it was my fave outfit, but really it's not worth it gals! Litigation can be a nightmare. Its emotionally and financially draining. So unless you really think you have a valid claim that stands out, you should probably either just wash your clothes at home or suck it up like Larry David couldn't and embrace the "law of the dry cleaners" ... "you win some, you lose some!"


• Behind dry cleaning laws

• Behind the "pants" case

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Lis Wiehl joined FOX News Channel as a legal analyst in October 2001. She is currently a professor of law at the New York Law School. Wiehl received her undergraduate degree from Barnard College in 1983 and received her Master of Arts in Literature from the University of Queensland in 1985.In addition, she earned her Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School in 1987.

Lis is also the author of The 51% Minority — How Women Still Are Not Equal and What You Can Do About It . ( Watch the Video ) and Winning Every Time: How to Use the Skills of a Lawyer in the Trials of Your Life

To read the rest of Lis's bio, click here.