Customer in Washington State sues Chipotle amid E. coli outbreak

Reuters News
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Posted: Nov 03, 2015 11:35 AM

(Reuters) - A customer has sued Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc, saying that she was infected with E. coli as a result of a meal at the casual chain restaurant, which has closed 43 restaurants in Washington and Oregon amid a food poisoning outbreak.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Washington state on Monday, cites at least 22 confirmed cases of E. coli in Washington and Oregon linked to the Chipotle outbreak and said the number is expected to rise. The outbreak is Chipotle's third food-safety incident this year.

The customer, Charmaine Denise Mode, of Kelso, Washington, ate a burrito bowl at the Vancouver Chipotle on or about Oct. 21, and is seeking more than $75,000, the lawsuit said.

A few days later, Mode felt nauseated, had severe diarrhea, and sought medical treatment on Oct. 27 at a clinic in Longview, Washington, where she had a painful rectal examination, the lawsuit said.

It said Mode tested positive for the presence of the Shiga-toxin producing E. Coli, and was linked to the multi-state Chipotle outbreak.

As a result of consuming Chipotle's contaminated food, Mode has suffered a debilitating and painful gastrointestinal illness, incurred medical expenses, lost wages and other losses and damages, the lawsuit said.

A Chipotle representative declined to comment, saying the company does not discuss details about pending legal actions.

The company's shares were up 0.6 percent at $627.53 on Tuesday after touching their lowest level since July a day earlier.

Health officials urged people who ate at Chipotle restaurants in the two states between Oct. 14 and 23, who suffered vomiting and bloody diarrhea, to see their healthcare provider and mention the outbreak. They expect the number of reported cases to rise as news of the outbreak spreads.

(Reporting by Suzannah Gonzales; Editing by Doina Chiacu)