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Chipotle Hit with E. Coli Lawsuit
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Summary: A woman has filed a lawsuit against Chipotle for giving her intense diarrhea caused by E. coli.

Chipotle customers have contracted E. Coli from the chain restaurant’s food, and now the company is being sued.


Charmaine Denise Mode filed a lawsuit against Chipotle in federal court on Monday. The pharmacist from Kelso, Washington says she was infected with E. coli after eating a burrito bowl. In the lawsuit, she said said she ate at a Chipotle in Vancouver, Washington on October 21; and four days later felt nauseated with “severe diarrhea.”

The lawsuit detailed that Mode’s diarrhea was “bloody” and “intense,” and that when she went to the hospital to get checked out, she received a “painful rectal examination.”

Health officials confirmed that her condition was linked to the Chipotle E. coli outbreak, Mode said in the suit.

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Another sick customer, Chris Collins of Portland, Oregon, described the severity of the pain to CNN.

“The excruciating pain in my abdomen was something I’ve never experienced. It feels like your guts are being ripped out,” Collins said to CNN affiliate KATU.

Chipotle has already closed 43 restaurants in Washington and Oregon after state health officials found cases linked to the franchise locations. Eight people have been hospitalized, according to CNN Money.

USA Today reports that there are over three dozen confirmed cases of people becoming sick from E. Coli. Katrina Hedberg, an epidemiologist with the Oregon Health Authority, told USA Today that there may be unreported cases at large.

“We are encouraging anyone who has eaten at a Chipotle restaurant and has developed severe diarrhea or bloody diarrhea to seek health care,” Hedberg said. “At this point, we still think our case count may increase.”

Hedberg believes that the E. coli came from produce and more than likely, the contamination occurred at the distributor or supplier level.

The E. coli news has caused Chipotle Mexican Grill stock to fall by more than 5% in the last week. The closed restaurants represent 2% of the nationwide locations.

Mode is seeking damages of $75,000. Her lawyer Brendan Flaherty said there were concerns of her long-term health.

The Centers for Disease Control says that E. coli is a bacteria that is usually harmless but can release toxins that cause bloody diarrhea and kidney failure.

On Tuesday, Chipotle announced that it will conduct environmental and food testing in restaurants and distribution centers, deep clean the closed restaurants, and hire two food safety firms to bolster the company’s food safety procedures.

“The safety of our customers and integrity of our food supply has always been our highest priority,” said Steve Ells, chairman and co-CEO of Chipotle.

This is not the first time Chipotle made its customers ill this year. In August, a Simi Valley, California restaurant closed after 80 customers and 18 employees had symptoms of Norovirus. That same month, salmonella was reported in the Twin Cities, Minnesota area.



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