Rabbinical Council of California v. Jakma, Inc. et al

The RCC has sued Schwartz’s Bakery (SchwartzBakeryLA.com) in U.S. District Court. The RCC alleges that Schwartz’s Bakery has fraudulently put RCC hashgacha (kosher) stickers on its product since 2013.

“That’s a blatant fraud on the community,” says one macher. “This is the new face of the RCC. They’re taking their position seriously.”

The RCC is going after all of Schwartz Bakery profits since 2013 based on the illegal trademark infringement.

Trademark infringements are the exclusive domain of U.S. District courts.

Schwartz Bakery
Look who’s got Schwartz’s Cookies for Shabbos!

According to SchwartzBakeryLA.com: “We are currently certified under Kehilla Kosher, any publication or marketing materials with RCC logo is a mistake and/or misrepresentation. We can now cater in both Shaarei Tefila and Beth Jacob”

Here is a copy of the Complaint with Exhibits.




Plaintiff Rabbinical Council of California (“RCC”) brings this complaint against defendants Jakma, Inc., dba Schwartz Bakery, Elizabeth Hecht dba Schwartz Bakery and Mark Hecht dba Schwartz Bakery (collectively, “Schwartz”) based on Schwartz’s ongoing willful and fraudulent efforts to profit from the use of RCC’s logo by placing its logo on Schwartz’s food packaging and advertisements without RCC’s permission…

11. RCC is the largest body of Orthodox Rabbis in the Western
United States. Its seventy members serve as pulpit Rabbis ministering to congregations and heads of educational institutions. These Rabbis directly serve an estimated six thousand families, and network with a far greater population in both the Orthodox and non-Orthodox Jewish communities.

12. RCC has expended considerable time and effort to build its
reputation for endorsing and certifying certain Kosher products and
purveyors. In order to receive this endorsement and certification, a company must enter into a contract with RCC whereby RCC monitors and inspects the company’s manufacturing facilities for strict compliance with all Kashrus and Halachic regulations. These regulations determine the ingredients and manufacturing processes used in food production to ensure they comply with Jewish religious dietary law, known as Kashrus (Kosher) or Halacha.

RCC also analyzes all records pertaining to the sources of the company’s supplies. A company may not substitute any ingredients without the specific written approval of RCC. All ready-made products sold or used at the company’s place of business must be acceptable as Kosher under reliable supervision as decided upon by the RCC. Finally, the company must observe all Jewish law in its operation.

13. As a food supervisory organization, RCC has created a logo to
signify its efforts and brand (“RCC Logo”)…

14. On or about January 3, 2007, RCC and Schwartz entered into a
contract (“Contract”) for food supervision services. Attached hereto as
Exhibit 2 is a true and correct copy of the Contract… among other things, that RCC would supervise the Kashrus of Schwartz’s products in exchange for a quarterly certification fee. Additionally, the Contract provided that all “food prepared for outside use shall be packaged
in a matter guaranteeing [its] Kashrus and shall bear an insignia of The RCC.” (Contract, ¶ 14.) In the event of termination of the Contract, Schwartz was required to immediately cease using any form of RCC endorsement and either destroy any packaging bearing the RCC Logo or remove the RCC Logo from said packaging. (Contract, ¶ 27.)

15. After January 3, 2007, RCC and Schwartz entered into oral
agreements (“Oral Agreements”) for RCC’s supervision of the “Kashrus” of Schwartz’s other establishments located at 1730 Cordova Street, Los Angeles, California 90007; 7113 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, California 90036; 12430 Montague Street, Suite 230, Pacoima, California 91331; 12519 Burbank Boulevard, Valley Village, California 91607 and; 433 North Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90036 (collectively, the “Establishments”).

16. In May 2013, Schwartz terminated the Contract and Oral
Agreements and refused to pay to RCC $825.00 that Schwartz owed from
Invoice Nos. 17306, 17318, 17404, 17416, 17420 and 17663 (“Invoices”) for RCC’s past services rendered.

In May 2013, July 2013 and October 2013, the RCC’s Rabbi Nissim
Davidi repeatedly admonished Schwartz to stop using the RCC Logo;
however, Schwartz failed to comply.

18. On February 13, 2014, RCC demanded that Schwartz cease and
desist Schwartz’s illegal use of the RCC Logo on Schwartz’s products,
advertisements, website and on property signage.

19. On April 7, 2014, RCC for the second time demanded that
Schwartz cease and desist Schwartz’s illegal uses of the RCC Logo on
Schwartz’s products, advertisements, website and on property signage.

On February 12, 2015, RCC again demanded that Schwartz
discontinue any use of the RCC Logo or name on Schwartz’s property, food packaging and advertisements, but Schwartz has refused to comply.
21. Schwartz continues to use the RCC logo on its food packaging
and advertisements and on its property at multiple of its establishments. A true and correct copy of such illegal uses is attached hereto as Exhibit 3…

26. Schwartz continues to reproduce and use the RCC Logo on its
property and as part of its food packaging.

27. Schwartz’s conduct is deceitful, has caused confusion and
continues to pose a likelihood of causing mistake among a substantial
segment of the public because consumers have believed and continue to
believe that Schwartz’s food products are sponsored or approved by RCC.
28. Schwartz’s deception is material, because whether Schwartz’s
food products complied with RCC standards and Kashrus regulations would
be a fact of consequence to consumers.

29. Schwartz caused its false representations about the quality of its
foods to enter commerce through its use of the RCC Logo on its food
packaging and on its property.

30. RCC has been and is likely to be injured as a result of Schwartz’s
false representations by a direct diversion of RCC’s ability to commercially exploit its exclusive trademark in the RCC Logo. RCC’s reputation and goodwill have been compromised by Schwartz’s illegal use of the RCC Logo as it is likely to mislead the public into believing Schwartz’s products are endorsed by the RCC.

31. Schwartz had full knowledge that its uses of the RCC Logo were
illegal and unauthorized, yet proceeded despite several warnings to cease and desist. Schwartz obtained substantial profits through the sales of food products by falsely advertising that RCC endorsed and supervised Schwartz’s products.

32. Accordingly, Schwartz has engaged in trademark infringement in
violation of Section 32 of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1114, and is liable to RCC for all damages related thereto, including but not limited to actual damages, infringing profits and/or statutory damages, as well as costs and attorney’s fees.

33. Schwartz’s egregious conduct in its illegal use of the RCC Logo
was willful and intentional, and this constitutes an exceptional case. Under 15 U.S.C. § 1117, RCC is entitled to its attorney’s fees.

34. RCC has been, and unless enjoined by this Court will continue to
be, damaged and irreparably harmed by Schwartz’s acts of trademark

LA’s Orthodox Jewish community has a lot of tolerance for misbehavior, incuding by its rabbis, but it is very strict with its kosher food.

Are there a significant number of Jews in LA who hold by RCC kosher but not by Kehilla Kosher?

Link: Defendant: Does, Elizabeth Hecht, Mark Hecht and Jakma, Inc.
Plaintiff: Rabbinical Council of California
Case Number: 2:2015cv04620
Filed: June 18, 2015
Court: California Central District Court
Presiding Judge: Manuel L. Real
Referring Judge: Alka Sagar
Nature of Suit: Trademark

The judge in this case, Manuel L. Real, has a bad reputation.

According to SchwartzBakeryLA.com:

Welcome to Schwartz Bakery & Circa-NY Cafe. Schwartz Bakery is the oldest kosher bakery in Los Angeles. Established in 1954, Schwartz Bakery has consistently served the public with the highest quality baked goods, as well as the highest standards of kashruth. Two and a half years ago, Schwartz Bakery partnered with Circa NY a restaurant chain based in New York to become the premier kosher bakery and cafe concept in Los Angeles. With this addition, came a complete remodel and renovation of all of the retail stores and the greater Los Angeles Jewish Community has benefited greatly from this symbiotic relationship.

On May 29, 2013, the Jewish Journal reported:

Schwartz Bakery, a kosher bakery and caterer with six retail locations across Los Angeles, has dropped the Rabbinical Council of California (RCC) as its kosher certifier. The 59-year-old family-owned business announced the news on May 20, posting on its Facebook page a photograph of a Kehilla Kosher sign hanging in the window of one of its shops.
“All Schwartz Bakery locations are now under Kehilla supervision,” the Facebook post stated, referring to Los Angeles’ other prominent Orthodox kosher agency.
According to its Web site, Schwartz is “the first kosher bakery in Los Angeles.” It is the third kosher establishment to leave the RCC in the wake of the recent scandal that has tarnished the certifier’s reputation, and the largest to do so thus far.
The move was announced almost exactly eight weeks after the RCC revoked its certification from Doheny Glatt Kosher Meats, which had been the largest distributor of meat under its supervision. In March, Doheny’s owner was videotaped allegedly bringing unidentified animal products into his store at a time when the RCC’s kosher overseer was absent. The breach was discovered by a private investigator not affiliated with the RCC; the agency revoked its certification on the eve of Passover and has been trying to mitigate the damage to its reputation ever since.
Speaking to the Journal at his store on Pico Boulevard on May 23, Marc Hecht, whose family has owned Schwartz Bakery since 1979, confirmed the change in supervision but declined to comment further about the decision to leave the RCC, which had supervised the bakery for decades.

Here is some background from the Los Angeles Times on the judge in this case:

Critics want to bench Judge Manuel L. Real
He is 85 and has sat on the U.S. District Court bench in L.A. since 1966. He wields his gavel despite complaints about his imperious behavior and frequent reversals by appellate courts.
August 16, 2009|Carol J. Williams

Attorney Gary Dubin was in a Honolulu hospital, sedated and suffering from depression after the death of his son, when U.S. District Judge Manuel L. Real had him handcuffed and taken to court — still in his hospital gown — to answer charges of failing to file tax returns.

Real allowed him to send for clothes but refused to postpone the hearing, recalled Dubin, who had to defend himself in a medicated fog without his case files. Judged guilty by Real after a two-day bench trial, Dubin spent 19 1/2 months in federal prison, while his home went into foreclosure and his credit was ruined by identity thieves.

He achieved a measure of vindication years later when the IRS sent him a letter saying he had not violated any tax-filing laws. But he said his encounter with Real caused him professional and economic suffering from which he is still recovering.

Dubin filed a complaint with judicial authorities, one of dozens in which the 85-year-old judge’s behavior has been brought to the attention of judicial disciplinary panels.

The Judicial Council of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals examined 89 cases in which Real’s conduct was challenged, though it is not clear if Dubin’s was among them because the panel does not disclose details of its investigations. In December, the panel said the judge’s behavior was problematic but lacked the “willfulness” required for disciplinary sanctions, adding that in the future, Real should be “especially vigilant concerning the subject matter of these complaints.”

Some judicial analysts predicted then that the Los Angeles-based Real would take the face-saving step of opting for senior status, going into a semi-retirement for which he has been eligible since 1985. But he remains an active judge with a full caseload, stirring fresh complaints of imperious behavior as well as a high number of reversals by appellate courts.

On July 17, the 9th Circuit overturned Real’s acquittal of a state corrections officer who had been convicted by a jury of assaulting two prisoners. The appeals court reinstated the jury verdict and sent the case back for sentencing, ordering that a different judge handle the proceedings. That was at least the 10th time Real has endured that rare form of appeals court reproach.

Still pending is an effort to remove Real from a case involving a trust fund containing seized assets of the late Philippines dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

Real has provided no accounting of how $5 million from the fund was disbursed while it was under his control or of what happened to an additional $20 million in investment proceeds. Real issued a half-page accounting of the fund’s remaining $34.7 million, saying, “That takes care of the matter.”


In 2008, Real received a public reprimand for his handling of a bankruptcy matter.

He is known for his January 22, 1970 decision ordering Pasadena Unified School District to adopt a plan to correct racial imbalance at all levels. “It is ordered, adjudged and decreed that the defendants, Pasadena City Board of Education, Mrs. LuVerne LaMotte, Albert C. Lowe, Bradford C. Houser, John T. Welsh, and Joseph J. Engholm, as members of the Pasadena City Board of Education, and Ralph W. Hornbeck, as Superintendent of Schools … are enjoined from discriminating of the basis of race … in the operation of the district.” His decision: “Commencing in September of 1970, there shall be no school in the District elementary or junior high or senior high school, with a majority of any minority students.”[5] The board of education and the superintendent adopted a forced busing plan to meet the new legal mandate. Real did not order forced busing; that was creation of the Pasadena Unified School District.

Real was noted for his judicial behavior in the 2000s. From 2001 to 2009, he had custody of disputed Filipino assets, for which he had to account in 2009. A federal appeals court panel ruled that his accounting “plainly fails to account for all transactions involving the assets during the eight years they were held in the clerk of court’s custody. It doesn’t give the reader even a basic understanding of the path by which $33.8 million worth of assets deposited in September 2000 came to be worth $34.7 million today”.[6]

On January 11, 2012, the Ninth Circuit removed Real from the controversial case of Alexander Sanchez, a former M13 gang leader turned gang interventionist.[7][8]

Real was removed from other cases for behavior [clarification needed] which threatened the impartiality of certain trials, including that of U.S. v Joseph Pritchard.[9][10]

In November 2012 it was reported that Real had shown a pattern of making rulings in favor of companies in which he owned stock.


* By far the worst judge I encountered in 50 years of practice. Goes to Tucson as a visiting judge to visit his wife’s family at taxpayers’ expense.

* Judge Real is a “bully”, he retaliate against litigants and time with attorneys specially the Pro Se who, despite demonstration of good faith and compliance with the court orders, are frequently bullied to advance a court agenda. In some cases, to “FIX” a case, to obstruct justice, to retaliate against a litigant or disfavored party.
Judge Real doesn’t follow the rules of civil procedure of the law, he shouldn’t be allowed to remain on the bench.

* I have spent over 40 years in courts around the word he rates as one of the judge who seems not to know to mush about the law are just does not care.

* He’s still there???? I still shudder at the way in 1970 he ruined a friend’s life by sentencing him to 10 years at Terminal Island for a minor drug possession offense. A vengeful sentence considering the options. Well, my friend did come from a privileged background — that could have motivated this judge given his own background. Not much jurisprudence involved, that’s for sure. Years later I wondered, who was Real? What else did he go on to do? From what I find online now he’s been cruel and less than just to many and not very honest either. My friend became a heroin addict while in prison. Who but guards could have supplied (sold) the drugs? Not the shock to people now that such things were then. We know enough now to guess how cell phones get in to Pelican Island But in 1970, it was probably not unknown to someone in Judge Real’s position just what he was doing to a 24 year old with no idea of the criminal justice system. A fine blow for Nixon’s just initiated war on drugs. Have we won it yet? Why not?

* This judge is an embarrassment to the bench. His clerks are an embarrassment as well, for putting up with him and in fact being accessories to his arbitrary conduct and his flagrant refusal to follow the law.

* He is a horrible judge! My father-in-law was offered a plea deal by the prosecution of 10 years or less, and he took it, thinking that a trial would not be his best option. With little regard and total disrespect, Judge Real sentenced him to 240 months (21 years. A 65-year-old man! This was 15 years ago, and we are still trying to appeal this joke of a sentence. This judge is, hands down, just a bad person in general. I don’t know how he can sleep at night.

* The real problem with this judge is that he is brain-dead.

* I didn’t want to believe the negative comments, until I saw firsthand two weeks ago just how horrible Judge Manuel Real is. He literally does no arguments. What’s the purpose of even showing up? Every single case, he starts with: “Anything to add?” Then he reads the judgement from a paper that his little law clerks presumably drew up. He doesn’t even look you in the eyes. And when you ask a simple question, it’s like he doesn’t even understand you or the case. Judge Real is a disgrace to the bench, a disgrace to the judicial system, and a disgrace to every American citizen. He must be fired immediately.

* I sat in the courtroom as an observer to a trial regarding securities laws. I was appalled at the behavior, conduct, and knowledge of the law (or rather the lack thereof) of this “judge.” He is rude, and sleeps most of the time, only to open his mean eyes occasionally to bark at the lawyers or those who testify. At times he is completely disoriented and does not understand or follow the details of the case. I could tell after a few minutes that he is biased towards one side. It was so obvious. Furthermore, he is prejudiced against women, cuts them short and puts them down. It would be a joke if it were not also a travesty of justice. How could this judge be allowed to sit on the bench one more day? A rating of 1 is a bit high for him. Zero or a negative number would be more fitting.

* I am convinced that this judge has dementia. His law clerks write the opinion on paper, which is given to him, and he reads it out loud. If counsel asks a question or makes a comment, he just sits there with his mouth hanging open and his eyes looking wild. He does not speak. He just looks confused. In my opinion, he needs to be removed from the bench.

* Quite simply the worst judge that I have ever encountered. He either just doesn’t gave a hoot about the rule of law or he’s too stupid to read and follow precedent. In either case, he creates unnecessary work and expense and deprives litigants of their due process rights. He is not fit to wear the robe.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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