As thousands of Jewish families prepare to feast on the finest kosher for Passover fare at hotels and resorts around the world this month, an unusual ruling in Manhattan Civil Court has paved the way for a kosher catering group to try to recover $24,050 in a breach of contract claim against a Brooklyn man.
A lawyer for William Rosenfeld had sought to dismiss the suit by the Glatt Boys (who claim Rosenfeld booked a trip for himself and 15 relatives last year at Kutshers Country Club, but never showed up) by arguing that a 10-day food-filled getaway constitutes goods, rather than services.
Business law states that a sale of goods of more than $500 is not enforceable unless there is a written contract."
Anyone who has ever gone away for Pesach knows that when you get back, people don’t say how was the horseback riding or the synagogue services, they say how was the food," Stuart Blander, the defendant’s attorney and son-in-law and one of the intended Passover vacationers told The Jewish Week. "That proves that the principal element, and the predominant purpose is the food. Food is goods under the Uniform Commercial Code, which governs transactions.
"Neither the Glatt Boys, nor their lawyer agreed to comment on the record about the case, which was first reported in the New York Law Journal.
But in an affidavit in response to the motion to dismiss, the Glatt Boys submitted a list of possible activities at the 2004 Kutshers vacation, including tennis, indoor baci ball, racquetball, swimming, Yiddish theater, Swedish massage, wine tasting and a makeover face lift show.
"The Court has no basis to dispute that, for [Blander], the very essence [of the experience] is the presentation and enjoyment of abundant, frequent and high quality kosher for Passover cuisine," Judge Jack Battaglia wrote in January. "But a review of the characteristics of the ‘program’ … leads the Court to conclude that the very essence of the family and communal ‘experience’ is defined primarily by ‘services’ and not by ‘goods.’" On that basis, the absence of a written contract was not sufficient to dismiss the suit.
No trial date has been scheduled, and the case is currently in the discovery phase.
Blander said he may still argue in court that dispute was over goods, not services. But the key issue remains whether there was a contract.