They can’t stomach it: 2 Va. men hit Chipotle with lawsuit over illness
wtop.com by Dennis Foley, July 30, 2017
WASHINGTON — Two Loudoun County men are suing Chipotle after they became ill following the recent norovirus outbreak at one of the company’s restaurants in Sterling earlier in July.
They are each seeking $74,000 in damages from the company.
“People have stomach illnesses all the time,” Texas-based food poisoning attorney Ron Simon, who is representing both plaintiffs, told WTOP. “But it’s only where you can trace it back to a particular source that there’s actually a case.”
And Simon says that is the case with these two men and the over 130 others who may have eaten at that restaurant.
The suit, filed in Loudoun County Circuit Court, states that at least two people have tested positive for norovirus and that Chipotle confirmed the symptoms of the other victims were also consistent with norovirus.
In addition to winning financial compensation for his clients, Simon says this lawsuit is about ensuring Chipotle makes real and lasting changes to improve food safety at its restaurants.
“What we claim Chipotle should have done is have better safety measures in place to make sure sick workers aren’t allowed to work,” the attorney stated. “We should never be in a position where someone that is sick is handling your food.”
According to Simon, Chipotle has had a variety of food poisoning cases.
“Chipotle has had a wrath of food poisoning outbreaks in the last three years — six in particular. Some for E. coli, some for norovirus and some for salmonella. And despite measures they have taken over the past few years to claim to get better, it hasn’t worked.”
Simon says that going after the pocketbook will encourage Chipotle to make a lasting improvement.
“The only way that we are going to get companies to stop bad behavior is to make them pay for it,” he said.
Simon says that his firm is one of only two in the world that focuses exclusively on food poisoning cases. Since word first got out about these two lawsuits against Chipotle, he’s gotten more interest from other patrons of the Sterling restaurant.
“We’ve had tons of calls this weekend from people that’d like to hire our firm and to join in the lawsuit. We expect there will be plenty more plaintiffs in this case.”
The attorney says suing is a consumer’s right.
“If they ate at that Chipotle and became sick during those few days in July, they have a claim and they have the right to make a claim to be compensated for that.”