Breaking News Emails
If you got painfully ill from eating at a fast food chain would you ever want to eat there again?
The answer for at least one victim of the Chipotle E.coli epidemic was apparently along the lines of, "Please, sir, I want some more!"
As nearly 100 customers sickened after eating at Chipotle last year have reached undisclosed financial settlements with the restaurant chain, one plaintiff's appetizing addendum has been made public: Coupons for free burritos.
The 19-year-old woman had gotten sick, along with more than 500 other people, during a string of foodborne illness outbreaks in Chipotle restaurants across multiple states last year.
Her lawyer, Bill Marler, who has specialized in high-profile food-safety cases for decades, said the teen had racked up about $40,000 in medical bills when she was hospitalized with E.coli after eating at a Chipotle.
Marler said that while the claim was being resolved, the client said her love for Chipotle had never wavered even through her sickness, and she wondered if they'd throw in some free burritos as a part of the settlement.
Chipotle agreed to send her "a couple dozen" free burrito coupons, Marler said.
"I’ve been doing food poisoning cases since 1993," Marler said. "I have never had a client ask for that."
And, he added, of the 96 people who he represented in the settlements with Chipotle, many said they had been back to eat at the chain.
"It seems like they have a pretty strong base of support. I think in some respects it bodes well for their recovery," Marler said.
Chipotle has had a hard time bouncing back from the E. coli, salmonella and norovirus outbreaks, despite introducing several promotions, but Marler said the company has done an admirable job of dealing with the issue — especially legally.
"I have a pretty good sense of what is reasonable and fair. I would say that Chipotle was in the reasonable and fair range, or frankly, I would not have settled," Marler said. "Both parties wanted to get these things done."
Chipotle still faces a federal criminal probe into food-safety measures and a civil lawsuit over allegations that it had misled investors, according to Reuters.