Suit Can Proceed Against Restaurant For Serving Meat To Hindus

An appellate court has ruled that a lawsuit against a New Jersey restaurant that served meat to a group of devout Hindus can forward. The vegetarian dining party are suing the eatery for the cost it would take for them to travel to India and purify themselves in the Ganges River.

In their complaint, the plaintiffs detailed their injuries. “Hindu vegetarians believe that if they eat meat, they become involved in the sinful cycle of inflicting pain, injury and death on God’s creatures, and that it affects the karma and dharma, or purity of the soul,” said the complaint. “Hindu scriptures teach that the souls of those who eat meat can never go to God after death, which is the ultimate goal for Hindus. The Hindu religion does not excuse accidental consumption of meat products.”

The mix-up began when a group of 16 Hindus dined at the Moghul Express restaurant in Edison New Jersey in 2009. They ordered vegetarian samosas, a type of filled pastry, and specifically asked the server to be sure they wouldn’t be served meat samosas. The waitstaff assured them that they were getting vegetarian samosas. Meat samosas weren’t even on the menu. The tray was labeled “VEG Samosas.” Nevertheless, the group ended up getting served meat samosas.

After some of the group got concerned that they detected the aroma of meat, they pressed the restaurant, which eventually acknowledged that they had been served meat samosas.

At first the lawsuit alleged negligence, negligent infliction of emotional distress, consumer fraud, products liability and breach of express warranty, but it was dismissed. The case was accepted on appeal on the breach of express warranty claim. The express warranty was the restaurant’s assurance that they wouldn’t be served meat samosas.

Edison restaurant can be sued after unknowingly serving meat to devout Hindu customers, appellate court rules [The Star-Ledger]
Can Hindu Vegetarians Recover From Restaurant For Alleged Spiritual Injuries Caused By Eating Meat-Filled Snacks When They Had Ordered Vegetarian Snacks? [Appellate Law Blog]