- Flickr/Janet Hudson
Chipotle has settled legal cases with nearly 100 customers who got sick after eating there.
Since March, the chain has agreed to financial settlements – meaning the customers got cash – in 96 cases, the Denver Post reports.
In one of the settlement cases, a customer asked for free burritos, according to the Denver Post.
The cases stemmed from a series of outbreaks involving E. coli, salmonella, and norovirus at Chipotle restaurants in cities nationwide. The outbreaks are collectively responsible for sickening at least 500 people.
Two separate E. coli outbreaks sickened more than 60 customers at Chipotle restaurants in 14 states late last year.
In August 2014, a norovirus outbreak linked to a Simi Valley, California, Chipotle restaurant in August 2014 sickened about 230 customers, according to public records obtained by Food Safety News. Another norovirus outbreak in Boston last year sickened more than 200 people and salmonella-tained tomatoes at 22 Chipotle restaurants in Minnesota were responsible for sickening 64 people.
In each of the cases that were settled, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had confirmed that the plaintiffs were contaminated through medical tests, attorney William Marler told the Post. Marler represented 97 customers suing the chain.
Chipotle’s sales have plummeted as a result of the outbreaks. Same-store sales have declined for the last three straight quarters, falling 23.6% in the most recent quarter.
The company has changed its food handling processes to better prevent contamination outbreaks from happening in the future. It has also been giving out tons of free food offers to encourage customers to return to its restaurants.