Lawsuits of the Filthy Rich: A suit over a suit

Yes! And this story is so exquisitely tuned, you must be given the pleasure of reading it.

Here’s a taste: A lawyer named Robert Ginsberg — a negligence lawyer, yet — bought a suit at Brooks Brothers in lower Manhattan.

Mr. Ginsberg isn’t rich, isn’t pompous, isn’t weird. He’s just a guy, like you and me, who occasionally must buy clothing. So he bought this suit last December, brownish-gray, “three-button with a faint pinstriped pattern…and had the store’s tailors do some alteration.”

In January, he picked the suit up in a garment bag, stuck it in his closet and didn’t take a look at it until last month.

Uh-oh. The suit he removed from the garment bag wasn’t the suit he had bought.

“The jacket was the right size, but it was the wrong color and it was used…The pants had the cuffs I ordered, but they were the wrong color, too They were two sizes too big and they didn’t match the jacket.”

So, natch, he took the thing back to Brooks Brothers to return what the Daily News called “the offending ensemble.” (Good word work, Barbara Ross, at the Daily News!) Brooks Brothers, though, had a maybe not very rational response:

“They said this isn’t a new suit. It’s used,” Ginsberg said. He said the salesman showed him where an inside breast pocket had a tear in it and told him the inventory number on a tag inside the suit also proved it was an old model.

“They dragged on with an absurd discussion where they admitted that sometimes people pick up something altered for someone else, but they said they always bring it back. I said, ‘Why would anyone bring back my perfectly good suit when they didn’t have to?'”

So Mr. Ginsberg is suing Brooks Brothers. And here’s where I admire Mr. Ginsberg. He is not suing Brooks Brothers for a million bucks for emotional distress. He’s suing them for “$7,646.51.” That represents the $646.51 cost of the suit, plus $2000 for “the 90 minutes he spent arguing about the return and $5,000 in punitive damages.”

David Rees, the manager of the Liberty St. store said he has never heard of a mixup like this, but he urged the lawyer to come back.

Don’t you sense this will all work itself out without court appearances?

And Mr. Ginsberg apparently doesn’t hold grudges. Once this little wrinkle in his suit is ironed out, he says he “may still shop there because he has for the past 25 years.”

“I buy my shoes at Harry’s, my socks at Macy’s and my suits at Brooks Brothers,” he said. “Shopping is not one of my interests.”

P.S. There’s more to Mr. Ginsberg than meets the sartorial eye. He was involved in another lawsuit v American Airlines, which he lost but is appealing. That one involved a flight attendant, a bathroom visit and a food cart. Gosh, that sounds like a lot of people, too, doesn’t it?


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