Two consumers have filed lawsuits alleging they contracted norovirus after eating at one of Chipotle Mexican Grill’s locations. Hogan v. Chipotle Mexican Grill, No. 109599 (Va. Cir. Ct., Loudoun Cty., filed July 26, 2017); Moore v. Chipotle Mexican Grill, No. 109660 (Va. Cir. Ct., Loudoun Cty., filed July 26, 2017). Both complaints allege negligence and breach of implied warranties, and each plaintiff seeks $74,000 in damages and attorney’s fees. The Loudoun County Health Department has identified more than 135 people who became ill after eating at Chipotle’s Sterling, Virginia, restaurant between July 13-16, 2017, and confirmed that two people tested positive for the same strain of norovirus.
On July 19, federal prosecutors served Chipotle with a new subpoena seeking details about the outbreak. In 2015, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California began a criminal investigation into a series of norovirus, E. coli and Salmonella outbreaks traced to Chipotle locations in several states. Additional details about the previous outbreaks appear in Issues 589, 593, 617 and 637 of this Update.
According to Reuters, Chipotle said it identified a sick employee as the cause of the Virginia outbreak. Chipotle representatives reportedly said they will now be enforcing a “zero tolerance” policy for employees who fail to follow food-safety protocols. See Reuters, July 27, 2017