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Chipotle Slapped With Lawsuits Following Ohio Foodborne Illness Outbreak

Nearly 400 people have reported falling ill

Chipotle Ohio foodborne illness outbreak lawsuit Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Days after hundreds of people reported falling ill after eating at a Chipotle Mexican Grill in Ohio, the burrito chain is facing several lawsuits. Authorities have not yet confirmed the exact source of the outbreak, but Chipotle did close the location in question on Monday, per a spokesperson, “out of an abundance of caution.” Nearly 400 people have reported that they became sick and/or sought medical care after eating at a Powell, Ohio, location of the burrito chain.

Now, Chipotle is facing legal action. One suit was filed jointly by DiCello Levitt & Casey, a consumer rights law firm, and Ron Simon & Associates, a firm that specializes in food safety. According to a release, the suit claims that “a late July food poisoning outbreak at a Chipotle location in Powell, Ohio sickened as many as 200 patrons and employees who ate at the restaurant on July 29 and 30.”

An initial lawsuit was filed by Filip Szyller, a customer who says he ate at that location on July 29 and later “became ill with a fever, diarrhea, nausea, headaches, fatigue and hot and cold flashes,” according to CNBC.

The firms are now pursuing class action status. They are asking anyone who became sick to call in and report the incident to them as well as the local department of health.

“It’s extraordinary that this is the seventh outbreak caused by Chipotle in recent years,” Mark A. DiCello, a partner at DiCello Levitt & Casey, wrote in the release. “Through this lawsuit and with the dozens of claims we are investigating, we will determine where and how Chipotle once again failed to protect its customers. This has become far too routine at Chipotle, and ultimately we want to make sure that the company doesn’t let this happen again.”

“Our phone is ringing off the hook. We had six prior outbreaks with Chipotle. I’ve handled hundreds of cases against this company,” Simon of Ron Simon & Associates told NBC News.

Another customer has filed a separate lawsuit against that specific Chipotle location. He is still under medical care, but is seeking $25,000 in damages.

In a statement, Chipotle says it’s cooperating with local health authorities.

There have been a number of foodborne illness outbreaks in recent months. Chains including McDonald’s, Trader Joe’s, Kroger, and Walgreens are working with local authorities to determine the sources and track the spread. For Chipotle, the situation is a bit more grim: The chain Steve Ells founded in 1993 is still recovering from a 2015-2016 E. coli outbreak that left its reputation (and stock price) in tatters.

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