Friday, August 03, 2007

How Crazy Can We Be?

Roy Pearson (pictured) is a lawyer in Washington D.C. In May 2005 he was appointed to be a judge. It was to be a 10 year term on the bench. Anticipating his first day on the bench Pearson took a favorite pair of pants, gray with blue and red pin stripes, to a local drycleaner owned by Korean immigrants Jin and Soo Chung. Later Pearson returned to the cleaners and learned that they had lost the prized pair of pants. Pearson sued.

You’ve probably seen reports both in print and on television covering this bizarre story. Roy Pearson sued the Chungs for $54 million! Time and again when I’ve seen the story I’ve just shook my head in disbelief. I couldn’t force myself to read more than a few paragraphs. The level of absurdity literally turned my stomach when I would think about it.

The story actually begins in 2002, before the loss of the pants in question. Apparently Pearson had lost another pair of pants earlier at the same cleaners. He was so disagreeable about the matter that the Chungs gave him a check for $150 and banned him from ever returning to their store. Pearson later begged the Chungs to allow him to once again do business with them claiming that he didn’t have a car and their cleaners was the only one in walking distance.

Then three years later the second and “favorite” pair of pants was lost. At first Pearson demanded $1,150 for a new suit. Lawyers were hired and the legal battle began. The Chungs then decided to offer Pearson $3,000 in compensation. Then they offered $4,600. Finally they offered $12,000 for the missing pants! Pearson turned it down.

So how did Pearson justify a $54 million settlement? He said the consumer protection laws indicated that he was entitled to $1,500 per violation--each day that the “Satisfaction Guaranteed” and “Same Day Service” signs were up in the store. It had been more than 1,200 days. He multiplied each violation by three because he sued Jin and Soo Chung and their son.

During the trial Pearson represented himself and while questioning himself about the pants became so emotional he began crying on the witness stand. The presiding judge threw out the case and it is now under appeal.

The Chungs are under such duress and financial pressure paying for their legal fees they’re talking about closing their business and moving back to Korea. Meanwhile the Commission on Selection and Tenure of Administrative Law Judges is questioning Pearson’s suitability to serve as a judge and he may well lose his position because of the “lost pants lawsuit”.

In perusing the Internet for thoughts, opinions, and commentary about this story it seems that the entire world supports the Chungs and is rather ballistic about Pearson. So, why is he appealing? How can Roy Pearson, an educated, credentialed lawyer and judge pursue a course of action that is so obviously foolish to 100% of the watching world?

Then my incredulity began to take note of “insane” behaviors in my own life. I eat when I’m not hungry. I stay up late and channel surf when I’m tired and need sleep. I allow distance in my marriage or friendships when I need intimacy and closeness. You get the point.

How about you? Are there points (large or small) of insanity in you? Perhaps life’s greatest insanity is ignoring or even running from the God of the universe who declares Himself to be the lover of your soul and whose intent is to bless you and give you life abundant.

Yes, Roy Pearson is pursuing a crazy path over lost pants. How is your craziness being played out?

1 comment:

jill o said...

I am guilty of running from God. Why do I allow that to happen? It is indeed crazy making. God has shown Himself to be trustworthy, loving and tender. I think I get scared when I know God is trying to grow me in a certain area and I don't allow myself to trust Him and take that step of faith. I trust him with my life, my family, my work - why do I keep these little corners to myself?