The Commission that selects administrative law judges (ALJs) in Washington, D.C. is leaning towards not reappointing Roy Pearson, the ALJ who brought a $54 million lawsuit against his dry cleaners for allegedly losing his pants and not taking down signs that say “satisfaction guaranteed.” He lost his lawsuit at trial, but D.C.’s “consumer” laws provide such big damages if a plaintiff wins a lawsuit that the drycleaners at one point offered him $12,000 just to settle his case.
Pearson cried on the witness stand, and ridiculously claimed at trial that “there is no case . . . in the United States that comes anywhere close to the outrageousness of the behavior of the defendants in this case.”
Pearson claims the D.C. Government is not allowed to take into account his ridiculous lawsuit in determining whether or not he is fit to serve as a judge, because his ridiculous lawsuit is supposedly protected by the First Amendment freedom of petition. That’s like saying that it violates the First Amendment to consider an applicant’s neo-Nazi views in whether he should be appointed to be a civil-rights commissioner. (Well, actually, it’s sillier than that, because the First Amendment does protect neo-Nazi views, but it doesn’t protect the frivolous elements of a lawsuit).
I have previously explained why the First Amendment does not shield Pearson from discipline (much less the non-renewal of his employment contract to be a judge) in both this blog and in the Washington Times.