Monday, June 25, 2007

A Modest Claim for $54,000,000

If you lose your pants, you may want to seek $54 million in damages rather than $67 million. But even if you can show that the dry cleaners made you lose your pants, you may lose your case -- even if you make such a modest claim for damages. See Washington Dry Cleaner Wins in $54 Million Pants Suit, Bloomberg Online June 25, 2007).

Even though plaintiff -- an administrative law judge -- lost, perhaps he should be admired for believing everything that his law teachers taught him. (Now, let's see, where did that guy go to law school?)

How did plaintiff think he was damaged to the tune of $54 million by the absence of his pants? (I trust plaintiff sought to mitigate damages by buying a replacement pair of pants rather than by ... etc.)

Plaintiff claimed that the dry cleaners lost his pants in May of 2005. Plaintiff invoked a consumer protection act (providing for treble damages, recovery of attorney's fees, and similar matters) and he "sought $1,500 for every day that Custom Cleaners displayed the 'Satisfaction Guaranteed' sign during a four-year period, multiplied by the three defendants. He also sought $15,000 to rent a car to take his clothes to another cleaner for 10 years." DC judge loses $54 mln lawsuit against cleaners, Reuters (June 25, 2007).

But the lawsuit and the trial were not, of course, about the money; they were about principle. Plaintiff explained "he would keep $2.5 million for himself and use the remainder of the award to encourage others to file similar lawsuits." Id.

  • Do you suppose that this was an enforceable promise? Do you think plaintiff would have kept it? Are you interested in buying the Brooklyn Bridge -- at a very reasonable price?
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