No Suit For You! Restaurant Serving Hot Soup Prevails Prior to the Start of National Soup Month


In Sekkat v. Huitres NYC, Inc., the infant-plaintiff burned herself on hot soup that fell from a table at defendant’s restaurant.  Admittedly, the soup fell as a result of infant-plaintiff and her younger brother horsing around at the table. Notably, the child’s mother had left the soup to cool down prior to the incident and warned her children that the soup was hot when it was initially served.

Although the trial court denied defendant’s motion for summary judgment, the Appellate Division reversed in favor of the defendant-restaurant.  The Second Department noted that liability for injuries resulting from hot liquids required a showing that the liquid was excessively hot in temperature and that, as a result, it was unreasonably dangerous and presented a danger that was not reasonably contemplated by the customer.  Here, the Court held that the restaurant had presented sufficient proof that its chefs had checked the temperature before serving the soup and that the soup was within the temperature required by the New York City Department of Health (the New York City Health Code prescribes the temperature required for hot soup served at restaurants to be between 140ºF and 165ºF). In reversing the trial court’s decision, the Appellate Division further reasoned that the infant-plaintiff was aware of the possible danger of the hot soup and that the restaurant’s failure to warn the plaintiff was not the proximate cause of the accident.