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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.

By Marc Fisher |  March 3, 2008; 2:10 PM ET
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Drycleaners then should require customers to put a value on the clothes they submit for cleaning, and be allowed to not accept clothes that they do not wish to accept the financial risk for in case people attach a ludicrous value to their clothes. Problem solved.

Posted by: Kevin | March 3, 2008 2:55 PM

Ha! And they say Virginia is backward. (not that it isn't but sadly, stupidity travels well.)

Posted by: hangin in herndon | March 3, 2008 3:33 PM

I wish Maryland's legislature would learn that it should not stick its nose in every possible problem.

Posted by: Lindemann | March 3, 2008 3:44 PM

Do we really need legislation to say our pants aren't worth $10 million? Is our system of government so retarded that we can't even exercise plain old common sense?

This will accomplish nothing. There will be another frivolous lawsuit, the damages sought will be just as outrageous, the reason will be just as stupid, and it will have absolutely nothing to do with dry cleaning. The problem isn't some "dry-cleaning loophole". The problem is the apparent inability of courts to just outright throw out a lawsuit as blatantly obscene and ridiculous as the infamous "pants suit" instead of wasting the court's time and taxpayer dollars.

Posted by: Kiss My Pants | March 3, 2008 5:22 PM

One small step for pants, one giant leap towards torte reform.

I'll take ANY forward progress at this point...

Posted by: James Buchanan | March 3, 2008 10:23 PM

Nice. Maybe they can get started on protecting me, my family, and my automobile from the illegal immigrants who are driving around without insurance.

I can afford new pants. Trying to find a low mileage vehicle that is paid-for is not so easy. Maybe they will buy it for me so they can keep their extra voters in the state.

This is the only family I have.

I am obeying the law, not the people who are here illegally.

How about protecting me on that?

Posted by: MoCo is Mexico | March 4, 2008 8:39 AM

This is friggin awsome!

I was a Peterson supporter from the very beginning. Finally, it's nice to see what he fought for is actually causing positive change for the rest of us. Go Roy Peterson!

Posted by: Silver Spring, MD | March 4, 2008 9:57 AM

MoCo, you think your county is bad, come up to Frederick County, MD one day and drive through the West Patrick Street area. Trash and booze bottles thrown into peoples lawns, hispanics walking out into three lanes of traffic, hispanics riding bicycles across three lanes of traffic (and not at crosswalks), and you can bet that anytime you see a broken down white van along I270...yep, there will be at least three hispanics standing next to it. Oh, and don't get me started on hispanic women who are afraid to drive - therefore, they drive 20 miles below the speed limit. And I won't even mention the public urination or their lack of deoderant usage....

Posted by: FredCo chick | March 4, 2008 8:33 PM

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