Complaint in Ruined-Prada-Suit Case

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Here's the complaint in Berland v. Peninou French Laundry, the previously mentioned lawsuit seeking compensation for ruined Prada attire.

The facts alleged are as simple as they are disturbing:

7. On or about October 1, 2009, Plaintiff delivered to Defendants, and each of them, for dry cleaning a red Prada suit (a matching blouse and skirt) that was in perfect condition.

8. Plaintiff had purchased the Prada suit at a cost of $1,305.  In addition, Plaintiff had purchased to go with the red Prada suit matching red Prada shoes at a cost of approximately $400 and a matching red Prada purse at a cost of approximately $400.

9. On or about October 10, 2009, Plaintiff returned to pick up her Prada suit.  The suit, while in the exclusive possession and control of defendants, and each of them, had been damaged beyond repair.

10.   Plaintiff made a demand on defendants, and each of them, for damages, but no part has been paid.

The complaint further alleges that the "red Prada purse and red Prada shoes were purchased solely to go with and be worn with the red Prada suit."  Though not specifically alleged, the implication is that said purse and shoes, and each of them, are now also worthless.

Now, this may well be a valid claim, although (according to "experts" around the office) there might be an issue whether the accessories are really useless.  But it clearly belongs in small-claims court (here, claims of up to $7,500), and doesn't belong even in the superior court's "limited division" (up to $24,999).  Nay, only the "unlimited division" could contain this matter, it appears, else Justice could not be done.  (I expected maybe a claim for emotional distress – I mean, we are talking about Prada here – but there doesn't seem to be one.)

Interestingly, the State Bar FAQ on small-claims court says the following:

1. What kinds of disputes can I take to small claims court?

[Y]ou might want to "file a claim" in small claims court if:

  • Someone dents your fender and refuses to pay for repairs.
  • Your new sofa comes apart at the seams, and the store will not fix it or give back your money.
  • The dry cleaner ruins your favorite shirt and will not pay you anything.
  • The landlord will not return your security deposit, even though you left the apartment in good condition.

(Emphasis added.)  Plaintiff's counsel probably knows that, but I guess if a guy is representing his wife in a Prada-related matter, as this one seems to be, he might want to at least appear to be taking the case very, very seriously indeed.

Link: Berland v. Peninou French Laundry & Cleaners, Inc., CGC-10-49620 (S.F. Super. Ct. filed Jan. 22, 2010) (PDF) (also now listed in the Lowering the Bar Pleading Archive)