RICHMOND, Va. — A judge in the Virginia Court of Appeals has ordered New Zealand inspired gastropub Burger Bach to add the letter T to its name, sources confirmed Wednesday.
The judge’s order stems from the case of Freeman v. Burger Bach, which centered around the commonwealth’s stance on restaurant names that are unnecessarily difficult to pronounce.
On August 18, 2014, Midlothian resident James Freeman went on a date with Emily Snyder, whom he met on the dating app Bumble. During the meal, the pair began to argue over the correct pronunciation of Burger Bach. As the debate became heated, Snyder threw a drink in Freeman’s face, causing a piece of ice to puncture Freeman’s cornea, leading to vision loss in one eye. Freeman later sued Burger Bach for failing to make the pronunciation of its name clearer to consumers.
Under the ruling, Burger Bach will have 30 days to change the spelling of its name, adjust its logos and signage, and provide clear guidance to the public on the correct pronunciation of Bach. The decision by Judge L. William Bradley overturned a lower court ruling which found the spelling of Bach did not play a role in the plaintiff’s disastrous Bumble date.
“Burger Bach is misleading the public on the correct pronunciation of its name,” Peter Timmons, Freeman’s attorney, explained. “This is a fraud and I’m pleased that we were able to get justice for my client and for the public at large.”
Wendy Murphy, the attorney representing Burger Bach, said she believed the ruling is ridiculous and intends to appeal to the Supreme Court of Virginia.
“It’s absolutely unconscionable that the judge sided with the plaintiff,” Murphy said. “Especially given the overwhelming evidence that Mr. Freeman acted inappropriately during the date.”
This isn’t the first time Burger Bach has been in court regarding its business practices. In 2016, a Henrico couple sued the restaurant for charging extra for not only, but for ketchup as well. The dispute was settled out of court; one source claims that a representative from the restaurant paid off the couple with a $50 gift card. Burger Bach was also indicted last month for crimes against humanity for serving a small handful of field greens with a $12 cheeseburger. That trial is expected to begin in the summer of 2020.
Some legal experts believe that this ruling could lead to changes in other restaurant names. Stacey Duncan, an attorney specializing in chic restaurants with foreign names and decent food, expects this case to set a new standard for restaurants.
“The next time someone opens a bougie restaurant with a unique take on traditional cuisine,” she explained, “they’ll have to think twice about giving it an overly complicated name.”
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