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Monday, June 25, 2007

This suit just didn't fit

In 1993, an animated short film was released entitled, "The Wrong Trousers." The film starred two animated characters known as "Wallace and Gromit." The characters went from cult favorites to international animated superstardom when the makers of the film took home the Academy Award for best animated short film for that year.

A lawsuit playing out in Washington, D.C., has gotten a lot of national attention off (as you have probably guessed by now) a pair of trousers as well. In case you are one of the few who hasn't heard anything at all about it, the case involved a $54 million lawsuit against a custom cleaner over a missing pair of pants. The plaintiff claimed the cleaners had violated the Consumer Protection Act.

A blog on the Washington Post site (OFF/Beat) followed the suit, which it labeled "The Year's Most Frivolous Lawsuit." The blog even featured trial updates summarizing the testimony of witnesses.

Today we find out -- oh shock of shocks -- the judge has ruled in favor of the cleaners (Click here for AP story). The judge also reportedly ordered the plaintiff to pay the cleaners court costs.

The quips, no doubt, will abound. I offer the following two possible sum ups to the mix:

-- "Dry cleaner won't lose shirt over pants"; and
-- "Plaintiff whose pants were lost now loses suit." (Sorry, I couldn't resist ...)

But jokes aside, it's a shame when an already overburdened justice system is used so spuriously. It's a rare happening, but it reinforces negative stereotypes in the public mind when it does. By the way, in case, you had any doubts, the plaintiff was pro se.

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