No, he's not kidding.
As reported last week in The Record, Charleston lawyer Richard D. Jones is suing his dry cleaner because it lost his pants.
He wants to be reimbursed for the cost of his lost pants and more. He wants the cleaners, Pressed for Time, to pay him punitive damages.
At least Jones didn't ask for $67 million, as defrocked Washington D.C. judge Roy Pearson did in his infamous 2005 "missing pants" lawsuit.
That he's asking for thousands, not millions, doesn't mean Jones shouldn't be ashamed of himself for filing the lawsuit.
Consider how non-lawyers reading this might handle such a dilemma. The cleaners loses your $100 pair of slacks. Would you buck up a few grand to retain a lawyer? Of course not, unless you're an idle, trust-funder with time and money to burn.
One reason Jones is suing is because he doesn't have to buck up anything. He can represent himself and pay no legal fees. Plus he knows Pressed for Time will have to hire counsel.
Jones may feel comfortable using his advantage--he is licensed to practice law and the proprietors of Pressed for Time are not-- to harass the company.
In our view, this kind of behavior is abhorrent, embarrassing to the legal profession.
The people of West Virginia don't entrust law licenses to certain people as a means to allow casual, flippant leverage over the rest of us. We bestow "special" powers upon lawyers as officers of the court because we have high expectations. We have faith they won't abuse their oath.
So why is Richard D. Jones doing this?
Maybe he's a vindictive man. Maybe he's petty, the type of person who goes ballistic about a lost article of clothing. Maybe he's doing it because he's a lawyer. He can and you can't.
Jones should be careful. Judge Pearson's pants lawsuit did succeed in harassing the owners of his cleaners to tears. It cost them $100,000 in legal fees and bankrupted their business.
But Pearson lost at trial. And he was summarily removed from the bench for his behavior.