The bad blood between the customer and store dates back to 2002, when Pearson claimed a first pair of pants had disappeared from the dry cleaners. The owners of the dry cleaners, Jin and Soo Chung, gave Pearson a $150 check for a new pair of pants and Pearson was banned from the store, the Chungs' lawyer said.
Three years later, Pearson said he returned to Custom Cleaners and another pair of trousers went missing. It was May 2005 and Pearson was about to begin his new job as an administrative judge. He said in court filings he wanted to wear a nice outfit to his first day of work.
Pearson said he brought one pair of pants in for alterations and they disappeared — gray trousers with what Pearson described in court papers as blue and red stripes on them. The dry cleaning bill was $10.50.
First, Pearson demanded $1,150 for a new suit. Lawyers were hired, legal wrangling ensued and eventually the Chungs offered Pearson $3,000 in compensation. Then they offered him $4,600. Finally, they offered $12,000 for the missing gray trousers with the red and blue stripes.
Citing the District of Columbia's consumer protection laws, Pearson said 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. With an additional $1 million for emotional damages and more for legal fees, that brought Pearson to his original $67 million claim.
The trial proved nearly as dramatic and unusual as the plaintiff's claims. On the witness stand, Pearson broke down in tears while testifying about his experience with the missing trousers. Because he served as his own lawyer, Pearson wept during a question-and-answer session with himself.
In his opening statement, Pearson told the court, "Never before in recorded history have a group of defendants engaged in such misleading and unfair business practices."
Perhaps Raelyn Campbell was inspired by Pearson's pricey pants.
Campbell, from Washington, D.C., sued Best Buy in late 2007 after the store allegedly lost her laptop.
Campbell said the laptop was stolen from the store, but the company misled her about its whereabouts for weeks before finally admitting that it was missing.
Best Buy offered Campbell $1,110 and a $500 gift card in compensation, which she rejected, according to a blog she devoted to the lawsuit.
The case was eventually dismissed.
A married man sued 1-800-Flowers for $1 million in Aug. 2007 for revealing that he was cheating on his wife.
Leroy Greer said in a lawsuit filed in a federal court in Texas that he bought flowers for his girlfriend through 1-800-Flowers. He asked to keep his purchase private.
But, the lawsuit says, 1-800-Flowers sent a thank-you note to his house and his wife saw it. When she called the company, 1-800-Flowers faxed her a copy of the receipt from Greer's secret purchase.
The receipt revealed that Greer had sent another woman a dozen long-stemmed red roses, along with a note that read, "Just wanted to say that I love you and you mean the world to me!" according to court documents.