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Ben Glass
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Dry Cleaner Judge Ordered to Pay Legal Fees

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This is not the first time the judge suing the dry cleaners has been involved in litigation himself. In 2005, the Virginia Court of Appeals heard his appeal of his divorce case. On appeal he contended that the trial court had made a mistake in not awarding him spousal support.

He also asked that the Court of Appeals reverse an order granting his wife attorney fees in the case. (Unlike most civil litigation, there is a significant amount of “fee shifting” that goes on in divorce cases). The Court of Appeal agreed that he owed his ex-wife $12,000 in legal fees.

In upholding the decision of the lower court in NOT awarding Judge Pearson spousal support and in agreeing that he had to pay his wife $12,000 in legal fees, the Virginia Court of Appeals said:

Husband next contends the trial court erred in awarding legal fees of $12,000 to his wife

…The trial court found that husband was substantially responsible for “excessive driving up” of the legal costs by “threatening both wife and her lawyer with disbarment [sic],” and creating unnecessary litigation. Consequently, it awarded wife $12,000 in legal fees to be paid by husband.

Credible evidence supports the trial court’s ruling. The trial court made specific findings concerning the award of attorney’s fees, including that the litigation was disproportionately long despite the relative simplicity of the case and that husband “in good part is responsible for excessive driving up of everything that went on here including threatening both the wife and her lawyer with disbarment as a member of both the D.C. bar and Virginia bar,” which created “unnecessary litigation.” Accordingly, we cannot say the trial court abused its discretion in awarding attorney’s fees to wife.

For those who are interested, here is the cite for the case. Pearson v. Vanlowe, 05 Vap UNP 0561044 (2005)