Rogue States Burger Joint Being Sued for Burger Fumes

Holy cow, this is a wild update about Rogue States located at 1300 Connecticut Ave, NW. Thanks to a reader for sending this link from the ABA Journal:

“Yesterday [July 22] the law firm asked a Washington, D.C., judge to issue an injunction to stop Rogue States, a Burger Grilling Company, to put an end to the emissions, according to The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times. Judge John McAdams Mott gave the parties until Aug. 10 to resolve the case, but said he was inclined to grant injunctive relief if no agreement is reached.”

The Blog of the Legal Times says:

“In the firm’s complaint, which was filed on March 10 by Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman partner Deborah Baum, Steptoe contends that the exhaust system at Rogue States’ 1300 Connecticut Ave. N.W. location, which is near the firm’s 1330 Connecticut Ave. N.W. office, dumps smoke and fumes from the restaurant into the firm’s air-intake system. As a result, the complaint says, “Steptoe employees have reported health-related effects in connection with the smoke and food odors, including but not limited to headaches, nausea, dizziness, watery and itchy eyes, drowsiness and distraction.”

28 Comment

  • Who is going to sue the new burger place coming accross the street?

  • Typical lawfirm… If anything, this is the landlord’s problem, not the tenant. Don’t rent space out to a restaurant like a burger joint if you can’t accommodate them.

    • Doesn’t matter. It’s an injunction which will stop the burger place from operating – it doesn’t really matter whether its the building owner or renting business’s problem since the result is the same – burgers will not be grilled.

      Actually, I wouldn’t say this is “typical lawfirm” in a negative sense. If there really is smoke blowing into the air intake of the firm, do you really think it’s fair that they have to put up with that?

      Hopefully the outcome is that Rogue States is able to do some work on their exhaust system to fix the problem, an agreement is reached to that effect, and they can keep operating.

    • No it’s both the landlord and tenant’s problem.

      Office building landlords downtown don’t provide much more than space and building management.

      Food service tenants bring their own kitchen equipment and it’s the landlord’s responsibility to ensure the tenant’s compliance with health department requirements including a filtered flue that is also tall enough not to bother neighbors.

  • “Distraction”? What would that be? Uncontrollable thoughts about french fries?

    • It couldn’t possibly be that. The fries at Rogue States suck. Nobody there knows how to fry a potato properly.

    • Oh man, I have totally been a victim of such a situation. As a vegetarian there is almost NOTHING WORSE than having to smell this! You go home and you realize that the smell has permeated your clothes, hair, bag, and nostrils!!! Yuck

      Didn’t even know you could sue for this, I would have done it no problem!!!

  • Yes, the smell of sizzling burgers and freshly-made fries would definitely be a distraction! I’m suprised that the complaint doesn’t include weight gain and higher cholesterol!

    As for the drowsiness complaint, can you say, “Food coma”?

  • Holy Washington-ness! Upscale burger place meets litigation… Only needs nerds eating $5 cupcakes for dessert and we’re all set!

  • “Steptoe employees have reported health-related effects in connection with the smoke and food odors, including but not limited to headaches, nausea, dizziness, watery and itchy eyes, drowsiness and distraction.”

    Sounds more like the health-related effects of working a boring ass job to me.

  • Don’t piss off a big lawfirm. But seriously, a restaurant’s exhaust system should not infiltrate the entire building, if it does they deserve to be sued.

    • I wonder if any attempts were even made to actually TALK to the folks at the burger joint before serving them legal papers… I wouldn’t imagine that a lawyer’s first impulse is to have a friendly chat with the smoke-makers and see if they could come up with some reasonable solution before involving the court system – and more lawyers’ fees. (Talk about a self-sustaining industry!)

      • I hate posts like this, especially because they lead to ridiculous, uninformed comments like this one.

        You stupidly assume a lawyer’s first instinct is to sue, but fail to recognize that Steptoe’s an international law firm that represents clients suing or being sued for millions or billions of dollars. You don’t get to be that successful a company by wasting time and being stupid.

        Besides, your insight into a lawyer’s first impulse is flawed. Lawsuits cost time and money to litigate. Most lawyers avoid them, preferring to settle matters out of court. So your instinct is incorrect and reality it actually quite the opposite. Besides, if you had actually bothered to read the Legal Times blog, you would have seen this:

        “According to the court’s docket, the two sides have tried to mediate the matter, but no agreement was reached.”

        So there you go. Sorry, but in the real world talking it out doesn’t always work.

  • Steptoe? Great name for a law firm. Second only to Stompnutz.

    • The firm’s full name is “Steptoe & Johnson” – always sounded like a foot fetishist’s hangout to me …..

  • I’m sure Steptoe tried to resolve this prior to filing suit and has been stiff-armed by both the landlord and the tenant—who are probably busily pointing the finger at each other regarding who has to foot the bill to revamp the ventilation. Pillsbury’s rates aren’t exactly cheap. Steptoe’s taking the calculated risk that throwing a comprehensive, take-no-prisoners complaint will spur the parties into paying to fix the ventilation system because doing so will be cheaper than being forced to shut down.

  • This reminds me of when the chinese place at DCUSA in Columbia Heights first opened–the smell of chinese food invaded WSC. Granted I only spent an hour enduring the smell of orange chicken and fried rice, but it was distracting while trying to work out. It was corrected within a week or two.

  • I’m still giggling about the fact that the story was reported by the BLT.

  • i work in the same building and i can tell you that it used to really be strong smells like grilling burgers from about 11am on day and in the mornings when they do prep it smelled like bacon and really strong (i’m 7 floors above)… personally i didnt mind… but becuase of al the complaints in the building my offfice manager said they had to change something (i dont know more fans or something) and it really cut down on the smell. now its just once in a while and not as strong. not surprised a law firm is suing them although i bet they all eat there

  • Lawyers in a down economy looking for work, when all that is needed is a taller filtered flue made by both the landlord and tenant.

  • I find it amusing that Steptoe went out and hired another big firm to represent them.

    On a side note, no more capchas? The posting too fast problem unfortunately is still here.

  • So they have bad neighbors, too bad. This is something the building managers should work out. If the burger place didn’t intentionally violate a rule or code you can’t blame them for just trying to conduct business. Maybe the exhaust was put in under the vents, maybe it was vice-versa. Either way, if the managers can’t resolve it, Steptoe is free to find new offices.

  • The greater offense by Rogue States was ending their lunch special.


  • I hope this goes all the way to the US Supreme Court. Too bad Warren Burger and Felix Frankfurter can’t be there to hear the arguments.

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