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31 Catt. 1: In re Chick-fil-A Vendor at the Verizon Center

2014 May 7

JEREMY, C.J., delivered the opinion of the Cart, in which CATTLEYA, J., joined.

Not quite being fanatics of the athletic arts, neither justice of this Supreme Cart has any great experience with the Verizon Center. But we have recently been informed that vendors roam its halls purveying Chick-fil-A chicken sandwiches, albeit for “a mere twice the normal rate.” The question before us today is whether these vendors fall within our jurisdiction.

As we have reiterated time and time again, the jurisdiction of this Cart extends to “all mobile gastronomic enterprises situated throughout those parts of (a) the County of Arlington, Virginia, (b) the District of Columbia, and (c) the City of Alexandria, which are reasonably proximate to public transportation of a reasonably rapid and efficient character.” The second element is clearly met as the Verizon Center is situated within the District of Columbia. The third, too, is met in so much as the Verizon Center is directly atop the metro’s Gallery Place station. But is the roaming Chick-fil-A vendor a “mobile gastronomic enterprise”?

Chick-fil-A Vendor at the Verizon Center

Chick-fil-A Vendor at the Verizon Center

Chick-fil-A is clearly an “enterprise” and clearly “gastronomic.” But is it “mobile”? To be deemed a “mobile gastronomic enterprise,” the enterprise itself must be mobile, not simply its gastronomy. In re China Garden, 5 Catt. 1 (2012). We have held, however, that jurisdiction does exist in the case of a pushcart inside an unaffiliated event hall because the cart is its own enterprise not affiliated with the event hall. In re Dippin’ Dots, 10 Catt. 5 (2012). Applied here, if there is a principal stationary Chick-fil-A vending location from which vendors roam the remainder of the Verizon Center, the roving vendor cannot be held to be truly “mobile.” He would be more like the dim sum cart in China Garden. However, if the roving vendor is the enterprise itself, then jurisdiction exists.

As I have stated, we, the justices, are not quite fanatical about the athletic arts. Not having visited the interior of the Verizon Center for a sporting event, we are not sure whether the roaming vendors are more like China Garden’s dim sum cart or Dippin’ Dot’s event hall cart. However, given supplemental jurisdiction, we need not answer that question.

We have held that an enterprise sharing a “sister” relationship with a true mobile gastronomic enterprise may still fall within our jurisdiction, regardless of whether the precise enterprise at issue is “mobile.” Thus, we have extended jurisdiction to mall kiosks and restaurants. In this case, Chick-fil-A exists elsewhere in the metropolitan area as a true mobile gastronomic enterprise. SUNdeVICH v. SUNdeVICH, 22 Catt. 1 (2013); In re Curbside Cupcakes, 20 Catt. 4 (2013). Therefore, regardless of the nature of the roaming vendor, we may properly lay jurisdiction over him.

Passing to the merits of the case, however, we must pass on this case. Apparently, admission to the inner chambers of the Verizon Center on a “game day” requires purchase of a ticket. As I have mentioned twice now, we are not fanatics of athletics. The prospect of purchasing admission to a sporting event simply to sample a roving Chick-fil-A vendor seemed unlikely. The terror of milling about in a vast throng of inebriated and enthusiastic individuals who do seem to enjoy such sporting events seemed daunting. And so we abandoned our case and instead sought sustenance elsewhere, in our case in a bowl of savory duck noodle soup around the corner at Chinatown Express.

Accordingly, this case is ultimately


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