A California federal court has dismissed a lawsuit against Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. alleging the company falsely advertises its food as free of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) despite selling meat and dairy produced from animals fed GMO products as well as soft drinks manufactured with GMO corn syrup. Gallagher v. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc., No. 15-3952 (N.D. Cal., order entered February 5, 2016). The plaintiff had failed to plausibly plead her allegations, the court found, because she failed to specify which products she purchased. Accordingly, the court granted Chipotle’s motion to dismiss but allowed the plaintiff leave to amend. Additional information about the complaint appears in Issue 577 of this Update.
Meanwhile, a jury ordered Chipotle to pay $351,936 in back pay and $255,000 in punitive damages to three female former managers at restaurants near Cincinnati, Ohio, over allegations of gender discrimination. Rogers v. Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., No. 13-0146 (S.D. Ohio, verdict entered February 8, 2016). The women argued that Chipotle fired them for performance issues despite that several male managers with similar or worse performance scores were not fired. In addition, the man who later fired the three women reportedly told one of them that there was “too much estrogen” in the restaurant because the manager and assistant manager were both female. Another trial for additional claims by two other women is scheduled for April. See Law360, February 9, 2016.