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Chipotle’s Norovirus Outbreak Triggers Lawsuit, Federal Investigation

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Two diners who fell ill are seeking $74,000 in damages

Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images

Chipotle just can’t catch a break: The burrito chain is now facing both renewed scrutiny from the federal government and a fresh round of lawsuits in the wake of its latest norovirus outbreak.

About two weeks after dozens of customers fell ill after eating at a Chipotle in Virginia, two of those patrons have filed a lawsuit against the chain, according to a press release. Kyle Hogan and Patrick Moore dined at the Chipotle location in Sterling, Virginia between July 13 and 15 and fell ill. According to their legal team, they “sought and received medical treatment for their illnesses and are recovering.”

The plaintiffs are asking for damages for "pain and suffering, mental anguish, physical impairment, physical disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, medical and pharmaceutical expenses, travel and travel-related expenses, emotional distress, lost wages, lost earning capacity, punitive and/or exemplary damages and attorneys’ fees” in the amount of $74,000 plus interest.

The firm responsible for this new lawsuit has represented or currently represents five other diners who have also gotten sick at Chipotle in the past two years. The case’s lead attorney, Ron Simon, said in a press release: “Through these lawsuits we will make sure that Chipotle learns to put the safety of its customers first."

Meanwhile, U.S. federal prosecutors who have been investigating the burrito chain since 2016 have served Chipotle with a new subpoena, according to Reuters. Prosecutors are looking for more information about the chain’s latest norovirus outbreak in Virginia.

Representatives for Chipotle say they have thoroughly sanitized the store and retrained staff at the Sterling, Virginia location, and executives said earlier this week during the company’s quarterly earnings call that they will now be enforcing a “zero tolerance” policy for employees who fail to properly follow food safety protocols. Chipotle’s stock is still down from the high of nearly $500 per share it reached in May to around $345 per share since the outbreak in Virginia came to light earlier this month.

Ron Simon & Associates Files First Two Norovirus Lawsuits in Chipotle Outbreak in Virginia [Release]
Chipotle Served Another Subpoena After Latest Food Scare [Reuters]
Chipotle Blames Norovirus Outbreak on a Sick Employee [E]