New York Personal Injury Law Blog » Frivolous Claims, Roy "Pants" Pearson


October 23rd, 2009

Move Over Pants Pearson, Here Comes the Hanes Underwear Lawsuit

Another victory for the tort “reform” movement. Albert Freed wanted to sue Hanes because of a claim that his underwear gaped open and hurt his penis (and he didn’t do anything about it). It’s notable that he represented himself, since apparently no lawyer would have been moronic enough to touch it. (Not the plaintiff–>>)

This spectacularly stupid lawsuit (coming to us by way of Above the Law, where there will no doubt be abundant commentary that is NSFW) had its origins in a two week vacation to Hawaii, and new briefs that the plaintiff’s wife bought for him. He testified that they gaped open at the fly, that this was apparent to him on the second day of the trip, that he got an abrasion, that he did nothing about it for two week, that he didn’t even look at himself, and that some topical ointment cleared the problem up in a day or two when he got home. He brought suit for defectively manufactured briefs.

Previously I’d written about Roy “Pants” Pearson and his $54 million case against a dry cleaner for his lost trousers. OK, pretty much everyone in the world had written about that one. But Freed can now take his place beside Pearson in the pantheon of public humiliation over ill-considered lawsuits. Pearson probably still has the lead here based on the fact that he is an attorney, but still, Freed has given him a run for his money.

Why did Freed do this? I’m going to take a shot at this here: He won the trip as a reward for selling $20,000 of diet products. Yet he weighed 280-290 pounds. Perhaps he thought he could sell anything to anyone.

Why do tort “reformers” like these kinds of nutty suits? Because the corporate-run movement is based on anecdotes and not empirical evidence. If the U.S. Chamber of Commerce trots out a few losers like this, then they think they can make headway into closing the courthouse doors to legitimate suits. It is rare suits like this that make news, not the legitimate suits that are “ordinary” by comparison and that make up the bulk of the cases in the courthouse.

On a final note, you really have to read footnote 3 to the opinion, about the lawyer sitting in the gallery “minding his own business” who was suddenly called as an expert witness, since he was the only male available that was watching the proceedings that was not involved.This was a “prominent” local defense lawyer who was “conscripted” into the proceedings to talk about “penile discomfort.” The court declined to name him, but acknowledged the lawyer was a “good sport” about it.
Opinion via ATL:/Freed-v-Hanes.pdf

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Handling a Products Liability Case on the Fly
I must confess I have never spent a lot of time thinking about men’s underwear. Thus, it never crossed my mind that a products liability case could arise from men’s underwear of any type. Women’s underwear are different.
posted by [email protected] (John Day) @ October 26, 2009 5:46 AM

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