15 New E. Coli Cases as Chipotle Hit With Lawsuit

Chipotle Facing scrutiny over E. Coli cases and lawsuit over outbreak

ByABC News
November 3, 2015, 6:31 PM

— -- Chipotle continues to face the fallout of an E. coli outbreak as health officials said the number of people sickened by the bacteria in Oregon and Washington has risen, and one woman filed a lawsuit against the company on Monday.

The company temporarily shut down 43 restaurants this weekend in Oregon and Washington after multiple people were found to have been sickened with the bacteria, which health officials believe may have been contracted at Chipotle restaurants. A direct link has not been established as of yet.

At least 37 people have been sickened by the bacteria in two states, health officials said.

On Monday, a Washington woman filed a lawsuit against Chipotle claiming that a burrito bowl made her sick with E. coli. According to the suit, Charmaine Mode began to feel nauseous and have diarrhea four days after visiting Chipotle and eventually went to a hospital for treatment forcing her to miss work.

She is seeking more than $75,000 in damages and declined comment through her attorney.

The company said in a statement that it was working with local health departments to track down the source of the outbreak and was deep-cleaning restaurants in the affected area. It declined to discuss the lawsuit.

“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. “If there areopportunities to do better, we will push ourselves to find them and enhance our already high standards for food safety.

"Our deepest sympathies go out to those who have been affected by this situation and it is our greatest priority to ensure the safety of all of the food we serve and maintain our customers’ confidence in eating at Chipotle.”

Additionally the company is batch testing ingredients and conducting environmental testing in restaurants and distribution centers.

Today health officials at the Oregon Health Authority said another nine people have been sickened by E.coli bringing the total likely affected to 12 in the state. In Washington at least 25 E. coli cases have been linked to the outbreak, according to the state health department.

While the bacteria can be naturally occurring in the human digestive tract, certain strains of the bacteria can cause vomiting or bloody diarrhea.

“Anyone who thinks they may have become ill from eating at a Chipotle restaurant in the past three weeks should consult their healthcare provider,” Washington State Epidemiologist Dr. Scott Lindquist said on Saturday. “The elderly and very young children are more likely to become severely ill from this kind of E. coli infection.”

ABC News' Emily Shapiro contributed to this report.