vox populi

Roy Pearson is a lawyer. That used to mean that he held all the cards in a civil action.

The Virginia Court of Appeals, in a 2005 review of Mr. Pearson’s divorce proceedings, upheld findings that he created “unnecessary litigation” in a relatively simple case and was responsible for “excessive driving up” of legal costs.

It’s not so simple any more. Pearson may be winning in the court of law, but he is losing big time in the court of public opinion. He is rapidly becoming the man with the $65 million dollar pants:

How does he get to $65 million? The District’s consumer protection law provides for damages of $1,500 per violation per day. Pearson started multiplying: 12 violations over 1,200 days, times three defendants. A pant leg here, a pant leg there, and soon, you’re talking $65 million.

Roy Pearson didn’t realize that the rules have changed. Knowledge of the law was once enough to insure either a personal victory or a pyrrhic victory for the other side. That’s still true. But the personal cost of legal action was once next to nothing. Now Pearson has his reputation and career tangled up in this case.