Stink and Desist !

All it takes is money. That right, don’t like the smell of a Hamburger? No problem, just sue! That’s right a law firm sued a burger joint…..

Is this nuts or what ?

A very prestigious law firm staffed with hundreds of D.C.’s most-powerful lawyers has moved to shut down a hamburger joint on the grounds that the lawyers didn’t like the smell of cooking meat making its way into their offices

So far, Lawyers 1, Little guy 0.

D.C. Superior Court Judge John Mott ordered the restaurant to shut down its grill this week. The law firm sued the restaurant, saying the firm’s employees suffered nausea, watery eyes and headaches from the burgers’ fumes.

The restaurant is closed because of “a powerful law firm that claims that the smell of our burgers is making it impossible for them to be productive,” reads a sign from feisty chef on it’s front window. The note is also posted on the burger joint web site.

Regulars said the closing is “pretty crappy”, “We’re going to have to find a new place to eat.”

Even amid heavy rain in downtown D.C. Thursday afternoon, passers-by stopped to read the burger joint’s huge sign. Some called the situation “ridiculous” or “unbelievable,” while others simply stared.

On a street crowded with coffee shops and restaurants — including Indian, Middle Eastern, and Italian cuisines — many said the odors from the burger joint didn’t stand out.

“I never noticed the smell,” said one patron. He said it was “one of a kind” and had “the best burgers available.”

Several people who work in the area said the burger joint wasn’t the most-dominant aroma in the neighborhood, and the smells at the center of the law firm’s argument existed before the restaurant opened in February.

The firm filed a complaint in Superior Court against the burger joint in March, calling the establishment a nuisance and claiming the odors from its exhaust equipment harmed the firm’s employees.

“The smoke and food odors constitute an unreasonable interference with the use and enjoyment of the property, in that the smoke and food odors pose continuing health-related risks and otherwise interfere with the ordinary use and enjoyment of the property,” the firm’s complaint says.

The prestigious firm, whose alumni include corporate leaders, judges and government officials, argued that burger joint’s second-floor exhaust vent expels fumes into the firm’s air-intake system.

The restaurant installed a scrubber system to ease the fumes after the suit was filed, but the firm claimed odor problems persisted.

The State Attorney said the restaurant is exploring it’s options for appeals and keeping the eatery open. He added that the judge’s ruling could “wreak havoc” on the restaurant industry.

“There are subjective comments about what causes an odor or what causes a problem,” he said. “When you base decisions on that, you’re going to have a very slippery slope.”

Would-be diners said they appreciated the note from the chef. One patron said he liked the restaurant’s candor.  “It’s nice to see someone going down swinging,” he said.

More on the story at the Washington post.