Pants Suit Update: Lawmakers Protect Pants!
Hard as it may be to imagine, there could be more Roy Pearsons out there somewhere, preparing to smack their local dry cleaner with multi-million dollar lawsuits because somebody damaged or lost some pants. And if you live in Maryland, you may soon be able to breathe easy and let out those pants, because your duly elected officials are on the job, protecting you and your garments.
Legislators in Annapolis are scheduled to sit--most of them while wearing pants--today and hear testimony on House Bill 776, a measure that would for the first time spell out how dry cleaners must respond should they damage or lose pants--or, for that matter, any article of clothing. The bill, sponsored by Baltimore Democratic Del. Barbara Robinson, would require cleaners to repair or replace such damaged or missing garments. (Never mind that Pearson fought his battle in the District.)
Until now, in a veritable anarchy of dirty garments, Maryland customers who could not reclaim their pants had to resort to complaining to the state's consumer protection division or, god forbid, go to court and file a tort case. But if this bill passes, customers could--it almost brings a tear to my eye--get paid for their lost bloomers. Of course, many, if not all, cleaners already have such a policy, but now it would be...the law.
A fiscal analysis of the bill--yes, your tax dollars are already hard at work on this issue--concludes that "It is unclear whether the bill would forestall frivolous litigation against cleaners, because the bill does not expressly state that the remedies it provides are exclusive."
The legislative session in Annapolis continues until April 7, which means there is more than a month remaining for your representatives to find ways to protect your shirts, shoes, even your hats. More pants developments as they become available; bulletins at once.
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