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Posted at 6:45 PM ET, 10/12/2010

D.C. eatery told to stop grilling burgers

By Erica Johnston

A D.C. Superior Court judge ruled the popular Dupont Circle eatery Rogue States a nuisance on Tuesday and ordered it to stop grilling hamburgers, after an eight-month dispute with a neighboring law firm over its “intense and noxious odor.”

Judge John M. Mott ordered the restaurant to stop grilling after it closes early Wednesday. Over three days of tesimony, Mott said he’d heard “ample evidence” to conclude that the restaurant at 1300 Connecticut Ave. NW caused the itchy and watery eyes, nausea and headaches suffered by employees of Steptoe & Johnson.

Though Mott ordered the restaurant only to cease grilling, he acknowledged “the effect” of the ruling could force it to close its doors, given that its menu consists only of hamburgers and french fries.

“While today’s decision is not what we had hoped for, it is not the end of the line for Rogue States,” said attorney Gary C. Adler of Roetzel & Andress. “We are exploring all options at this point.”

Mott left open the possibility that the restaurant could resume cooking if it upgrades or moves its exhaust system from its current location on a second-story roof. That roof is surrounded on three sides by tall buildings and creates a canyon that pipes grease fumes directly into Steptoe’s building, the firm has said.

Rogue States previously borrowed money from its landlord to upgrade its exhaust system. But Mott said their choice was not the “appropriate system,” and that relocating the vent to the top of the 10-story building may be necessary to reduce the odor sufficiently.

This case “is not about anyone trying to run a small establishment out of business ... it is also not about a small business that does not care about its neighbors,” Mott said, encouraging the parties to work towards a resolution that could keep Rogue States and its 30 employees in business.

-- Amanda Becker,
Capital Business

By Erica Johnston  | October 12, 2010; 6:45 PM ET
Categories:  DC  
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Imagine that Another FAcist Liberal Judge siding with slip n fall lawyers over a small businessman. Disgusting. Ever hear of closing your windows or moving their ventilation system. If the business was built to code then its not their fault. This judge is a moron.

Posted by: espnfan | October 12, 2010 7:29 PM | Report abuse

I think the judge made the proper ruling. The ventilation system is the problem. The business will improve the system and everyone will be fine. The other option would have been employees and customers at their law office would smell greasy burgers all day and night. Both parties seem to be okay with this ruling and will make the best of it. Of course those on the right will call the judge names (Liberal) and believe the law office is at fault. It is what they learn watching low educational shows like Fox News.

Posted by: BaysoxFan39 | October 12, 2010 7:59 PM | Report abuse

I think both tenants should split the costs since they are both affected by the situation.

Posted by: doxparadise | October 13, 2010 12:56 AM | Report abuse

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