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Hot Soup Was Not Surprisingly Hot (NY)

December 20, 2017

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Most like it hot ... soup that is.  To this end, the  New York City Health Code prescribes the range of temperature required for hot soup served at restaurants, i.e. 140 to 165ºF.  But what if someone gets burned on that soup?
In <em><a href="http://blog.wcmlaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Sekkat.pdf">Sekkat v. Huitres NYC, Inc.</a>, </em>an infant-plaintiff was burned when her younger brother pushed a toy train into a bowl of soup and caused it to fall from the table at the defendant’s restaurant.  The child's mother had warned that the soup was hot when it was initially set on the table. They had, admittedly,  left the soup to cool down when the incident occurred.
Both the plaintiffs and defendants' motions for summary judgment  were denied by the lower court. However, the Appellate Division reversed  in favor of the defendant-restaurant.  The Second Department noted that liability for injuries resulting from hot soup required a showing that the soup was excessively hot in temperature and that, as a result, it was unreasonably dangerous and presented a danger that was not reasonably contemplated.  The Court held that, in the instant matter, the restaurant had presented sufficient proof that its cooks had checked the temperature before serving it and that it was within the temperature required by the NYC Department of Health.  The Court further held that the infant-plaintiff was aware of the possible danger and that the restaurant’s failure to warn the plaintiff of the possible danger was not the proximate cause of this accident.
Thanks to Georgia Coats for her contribution.
For more information, contact Denise Fontana Ricci at <a href="mailto:dricci@wcmlaw.com">dricci@wcmlaw.com</a>.
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