As well as being the butt of more trouser-related humour than anyone since the late lamented Robertson Hare (see earlier post on Farce), Judge Roy Pearson has drawn international attention to the American legal system by claiming $27 million in damages from a firm of South Korean dry-cleaners.
The case has been dismissed, and costs awarded to the dry-cleaners [BBC News, June 25th 2007]. Given the ludicrous scale of the damages claimed, this may be regarded as a victory for common sense. Even though the Koreans were put out of business by the case, according to a later commentary by Anthony Lewis, Shall we get rid of the lawyers? (New York Review, Vol 56 No 6, April 2009)
But even if common sense at least partially prevailed, this itself raises some intriguing questions. Does Judge Pearson possess any common sense himself? Did he truly believe in the justice of his claim; did he bring the case in the cynical hope that the American legal system would be incapable of producing the common-sense verdict, or perhaps that his brilliant legal mind would dominate proceedings?
Alternatively, we might interpret this as a subversive action by a knowledgeable insider - an action designed to expose the surreal absurdity of the System. Does Judge Pearson have an agent already working on the TV appearances and the book deal? Or does our modern Don Quixote have any further legal challenges planned?