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Menorah Chapels at Millburn v. Needle

New Jersey Superior Court
899 A.2d 316 (2006)


Facts

Emanuel Needle (defendant) had a father-in-law who was an orthodox Jew. The father-in-law died on a Friday, and Needle contracted with Menorah Chapels of Millburn (Menorah Chapels) (plaintiff) to conduct the funeral and related services. Menorah Chapels advertised itself as a Jewish Funeral Chapel that could provide the services customary in the orthodox Jewish faith. One of these services was providing a watcher, known as a shomerim, to conduct a continuous vigil over the deceased’s body until the funeral. The contract between Needle and Menorah Chapels reflected that Menorah Chapels agreed to provide a shomerim for Needle’s father-in-law through the Sabbath. However, this did not occur, and the father-in-law was unattended during the Sabbath. Needle did not pay Menorah Chapels for the services, and Menorah Chapels sued Needle for breach of contract. Menorah Chapels sought full payment for the services, less the amount for the shifts of the shomerim during the Sabbath that were not provided. Needle filed a counterclaim, alleging breach of contract. Menorah Chapels filed a motion for summary judgment regarding Needle’s counterclaim. The trial court granted the summary-judgment motion of Menorah Chapels and granted judgment on the primary breach-of-contract claim to Menorah Chapels as well. Needle appealed to the New Jersey Superior Court.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Payne, J.)

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