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Class Says Private Eye Nailed Kosher Market

LOS ANGELES (CN) - Two class actions claim that a private eye discovered, and videotaped, a kosher butcher delivering non-kosher food to his market.

Two class actions and a third, individual complaint, were filed against Michael Engelman and Doheny Glatt Kosher Meat Market, in Superior Court.

Engelman owns and runs the kosher market on West Pico Boulevard.

The allegations in this complaint come from lead plaintiff Joshua Fard's class action.

The Rabbinical Counsel of California revoked the market's kosher certification this month after (nonparty) private investigator Eric Agaki's March 7 video surfaced on a local news station, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Fard says in his complaint: "The certification was revoked when Michael Engelman was allegedly videotaped by a private investigator unloading boxes of food into the store without the supervision of the kosher overseer or mashgiach."

Glatt is German and Yiddish for "smooth." Glatt kosher foods conform to the Jewish Halakhic regulations of kosher meat, which required that the internal organs be smooth and unblemished.

Glatt kosher meat is more expensive than nonkosher, or treif, meat.

Fard and the other plaintiffs claim the events captured on video were "not an isolated incident but in fact it was the custom and practice of defendants to advertise their products as 'glatt kosher' when in fact they were not, thus commanding higher prices."

Fard claims his unwitting consumption of treif meat caused him continuing "extreme emotional anguish, mental suffering, headaches, nausea, loss of sleep, mental anguish, stress, anxiety and tension.

A second class action also names the Rabbinical Council of California as a defendant.

This complaint, from lead plaintiff Mehri Kohan-Ghadosh, claims the Rabbinical Council "was negligent in inspecting and certifying food products sold by defendants Doheny in certifying as glatt kosher food products which do not meet the standards for such a designation."

It adds: "Such negligence includes inspectors falling asleep during the period of inspection such that food products were mislabeled as glatt kosher. ...

"Plaintiffs suffered property damage in that they were required by the tenants of their religion to destroy their dinnerware and cutlery which had come in contact with non-kosher meat."

Agaki told the Times he investigated Engelmen at the behest of a rabbi who suspected Doheny of undercutting other Kosher meat markets.

The video aired on Los Angeles station KTLA and is still online .

It depicts an alleged colleague of Engelman's loading a car with repacked glatt kosher boxes. He takes them to Engelman at a McDonald's.

The plaintiffs claim that Engelman then is depicted unloading them into his market without an overseer.

The plaintiffs seek damages for negligence, unfair competition, false advertising, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Fard is represented by Raymond Zolehian with Hanasab & Zolekhian.

Kohan-Ghadosh is represented by Andre Jardini with Knapp, Petersen & Clarke, of Glendale.


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