A Michigan man was beyond disgusted to learn what his local Little Caesars restaurant had allegedly fed him. Although he threatened the eatery with a $100 million lawsuit, the chain’s response made him even more furious.
Mohamad Bazzi, a 32-year-old Muslim man from Dearborn, Michigan, went to his local Little Caesars and ordered some tasty pepperoni pizza. The restaurant actually offers a “halal” style beef pepperoni because of the large local Muslim population, but that’s not what he received on his pizza. Bazzi and his wife ate about half the pizza before realizing that something was wrong.
Bazzi claims that he specifically ordered “halal” pepperoni pizza on two separate occasions from a Little Caesars in Dearborn but received pork pepperoni instead of beef. Both pizza boxes he received were labeled “halal,” according to the lawsuit. The Quran, the main religious text of Islam, prohibits Muslims from eating any pork.
According to Bazzi’s attorney, Majed Moughni, the second time Bazzi received pork pepperoni was just before the start of Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting. The lawsuit, filed in Wayne County Circuit Court, claims that the incidents happened two months apart. “These people were unknowingly assaulted,” Moughni said. “None of these employees seem to care.”
The first time it allegedly occurred, Bazzi and his wife were in their home savoring a Little Caesars pizza they had picked up. The couple was halfway finished with their pizza, the suit claims, when they abruptly realized they were eating pork pepperoni. “It’s really upsetting,” Moughni said. “My clients want the public to know.”
Bazzi’s wife says she knew the pepperoni was pork because she is a convert to Islam who grew up Catholic. Bazzi also has experience with pizza ingredients because he has previously worked at a pizza joint. When they realized they were eating pork, Bazzi and his wife “became sick to their stomach,” the $100 million lawsuit says. They were deeply troubled — so troubled they filed a police report after waiting three days.
Two months later, their pizza cravings convinced them to try their luck again. Mohamad Bazzi ordered the second halal pepperoni pizza from the Dearborn Little Caesars and allegedly received more pork pepperoni. He went back to the restaurant and spoke to the manager. Bazzi said he had been “defrauded and wondered how many other people may have been unknowingly eating ‘Pork’ that defendants sold as ‘Halal.’”
According to Moughni, who is Bazzi’s lawyer, the Little Caesars manager claimed that Bazzi asked for a Hot-n-Ready regular pepperoni pizza with a halal sticker on the box. Moughni said that this claim is categorically false and that no Hot-n-Ready pepperoni pizza was ordered.
“They have no regard for people’s religious beliefs,” the lawyer said. “This is a violation of the Muslim faith. You can’t be handing out pork, mislabeling it as halal, and get away with it. This isn’t how America operates. A billion dollar corporation can’t get away with it.”
Jill Proctor, a spokeswoman for Little Caesars, issued a statement that Bazzi surely didn’t like. “Little Caesars cherishes our customers from all religions and cultures, and the communities we serve are very important to us,” Proctor said. “While we can’t comment on pending litigation, we take this claim very seriously. At this time, we believe it is without merit.”
Moughni believes other Muslims have unwittingly eaten pork pepperoni from Little Caesars, believing it’s halal. The four counts of the lawsuit are fraud, breach of contract, negligent misrepresentation, and unjust enrichment. The defendants named in the lawsuit are Little Caesars and the employees of the Dearborn location. The attorney hoped to turn the lawsuit into a class action, but those dreams would be short-lived.
After Mohamad Bazzi demanded $100 million from Little Caesars Pizza for serving him pork pepperoni, a Michigan judge tossed his claim. According to an email sent by Michael Huget, an attorney representing the pizza company, Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Susan Hubbard granted the chain a dismissal. The company said it will file counterclaims against Bazzi to protect the company against “frivolous actions” in the future.
Additionally, Little Caesars’ Dearborn location removed signs suggesting it sells halal pepperoni and informed customers that they are no longer selling the Islamic option because “they are presently out of stock.” Bazzi will not only leave the court empty handed but could be forced to pay the company’s court costs if the Little Caesars requests such action from the judge.