WASHINGTON, D.C. — Roy L. Pearson Jr., plaintiff in the $54 million lost-pants lawsuit that drove Washington, D.C.’s Custom Cleaners to the brink of bankruptcy, may soon lose his job as an administrative law judge.
A city commission voted against Pearson’s reappointment to the bench, according to sources speaking anonymously to the Washington Post. Pearson was up for appointment to a 10-year term at the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) after serving an initial two-year term.
The five-member Commission on Selection & Tenure of Administrative Law Judges reviewed Pearson’s actions in the lawsuit as well as his overall temperment and work as a judge. Pearson was allowed to defend his record on the bench in two hearings.
The commission told Pearson he might not be reappointed in August after the Custom verdict was delivered. Whatever its decision, the commission must draft a letter notifying Pearson for it to be official, and has scheduled a follow-up meeting for Monday.
The litigious Pearson could take the case to the D.C. Court of Appeals if he is rejected, and is still appealing the ruling in the Custom case. While his term as an administrative judge expired in May, Pearson continues to make a $100,000 per year salary as an adviser to the OAH.
The American Tort Reform Association (ATRA) called for Pearson’s ouster in August. “The law that established [OAH] specifically requires judges to possess ‘judicial temperament,’ which surely includes a willingness and capacity to interpret the law reasonably,” says Darren McKinney, ATRA’s director of communications.
“But when [D.C. Superior Court] Judge Bartnoff ruled against Pearson, she made it clear that his interpretation of D.C.’s consumer-protection law was wholly ‘unreasonable.’”
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