Nonsmokers’ rights found no legal help on Wednesday as the Tel Aviv District
Court dismissed a class-action lawsuit against the Espresso Bar coffee chain for
having allegedly failed to comply with its obligations under a 1992 law to
prevent smoking in public spaces.
On April 4, 2012, a couple, along with
their grandchild, visited an Espresso Bar at 7 Ben-Gurion Street in
The couple was seated inside, per their request to be in a
However, the couple complained that the door from the
outdoor smoking section was being left ajar, allowing waves of smoke to enter
the nonsmoking area from the outdoor smoking section.
The waitress to
whom the couple complained declined to fully close the door separating the
indoor nonsmoking and outdoor smoking sections because of the need for quick
access between the sections.
The couple added that even if the waitress
had closed the door fully, the door construction was deficient and still would
have allowed in significant waves of smoke from outside.
could obtain civil damages against the restaurant for failure to enforce the law
to prevent smoking in public spaces, the couple requested approval to file a
class-action suit against Espresso Bar.
The court rejected the request on
It found that there was no right to sue an establishment
like Espresso Bar in the class-action context when the true violators of the law
had been the smokers themselves, and Espresso Bar at worst had failed to stop
The court said that prior case law requires signage and
separate sections for smoking and nonsmoking such as Espresso Bar
While the law also permitted establishments to hire their own
inspector to temporarily detain smoking violators until official city inspectors
arrived on the scene, this was not required and the true enforcement obligation
remained on city inspectors.
The court said that any other conclusion
would be disproportionate and impractical to enforce.