96 Chipotle Food Poisoning Victims Settle For Free Burritos And Cash

Food-safety lawyer says his 20-something clients remain loyal to the foil-wrapped burrito

Chipotle To Close Restaurants For Few Hours For Food Safety Meeting
NEW YORK, NEW YORK -- FEBRUARY 8: People walk past a Chipotle restaurant on Broadway in Lower Manhattan on February 8, 2016 in New York City. The Mexican food chain is closing stores for lunch nationwide for a meeting on food safety following a number of E. coli outbreaks. (Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)

Chipotle Mexican Grill has successfully settled 96 cases of food poisoning caused by the foodborne illness outbreak last year. The terms of the settlement have not been disclosed, except for one: A client requested “Free-burrito” coupons as part of her settlement, the rest being cash.

Yes, you read that correctly. After getting violently ill from eating burritos at Chipotle Mexican Grill, a woman requested burrito coupons as part of her court settlement.

William Marler, who works as an attorney with the Seattle-based law firm Marler Clark, which represented 97 Chipotle customers said, “In 25 years of doing foodborne illness cases, I’ve never had a client ask for coupons for the restaurant they had gotten sick at. In fact, some [clients] had gone back to the restaurant and they would call me and say, ‘Do you think it’s bad that I went back and got a burrito?'”

Chipotle has financially settled 96 cases between March and last week, with one case still pending because of it’s complexity, said Marler. These cases were brought forward after customers became sickened from E. coli, salmonella and norovirus outbreaks in cities nationwide, including Boston, Minneapolis and Simi Valley, California.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that the food was contaminated in all of the resolved cases using medical tests, Marler added.

“Those cases get resolved because there’s nothing to argue about,” Marler said. “That makes it easier, to be candid, for Chipotle to look at them and say, ‘Wow. An independent entity confirmed it.’ ”

When asked about how Chipotle handled the cases, Marler said that he felt they were both professional and fair. Personal injury settlements take into consideration wage loss, medical expenses and pain and suffering.

The spokesman for the Denver-based Chipotle, Chris Arnold, confirmed that cases were settled over the last few months.

“We opted to settle them simply because we thought it was the right thing to do for those customers,” Arnold said.

Based on a website dedicated to reporting and mapping Chipotle food safety incidents, there were 510 people sickened after eating at the fast food Mexican Grill franchise last year.

[Denver Post]

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