Restaurant Can Be Sued For Serving Meat To Vegetarians
On August 10th, 2009, 16 people in Edison, NJ ordered vegetarian samosas from Moghul Express, an Indian restaurant on the town's almost-exclusively-Indian Oak Tree Road. The customers were devout Hindus. They did not eat meat for religious reasons, so they made sure to ask Moghul Express several times whether the samosas had meat in them. The person taking their order told them Moghul Express didn't even make meat samosas, according to the Star-Ledger. They ate some of the samosas, which tasted of meat. They again asked whether the samosas were vegetarian—but this time, they were told that the samosa contained meat.
They decided to sue for emotional and monetary damages. The plaintiffs claimed that eating meat had caused them serious spiritual harm, which could only be rectified by an expensive pilgrimage to the Ganges River. They asked Moghul Express to pay for the trip. At first, the courts told them that the suit was inadmissible. They appealed.
On Monday, a New Jersey Appellate Court decided to allow the suit to go forward. This does not mean that the suit will be successful. It just means that the three-person Superior Court found that the plaintiff's case met the basic prima facie qualifications for it to proceed.
The most famous such case, in which vegetarian groups sued McDonald's for including beef in its french fries, allegedly ended in a multi-million-dollar settlement.