One Sickened Chipotle Customer Will Get Her Damages In The Form Of Free Burritos

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Apparently it can be hard to quit Chipotle. Despite reports that 25% of former customers have yet to return — or visit less frequently — to the fast casual restaurant after its very public food-borne illness issues, one woman who was actually sickened after eating at the chain hasn’t completely shunned the burritos. In fact, she asked for — and received — free food as part of her recent settlement with the company. 

The Boston Globe reports that  among the approximately 100 Chipotle settlements announced last week was a 19-year-old Oregon woman who will receive nearly two dozen free food coupons from the restaurant.

Bill Marler, who represented the woman and other sickened Chipotle customers, says the company was accommodating to the unusual request.

“I’ve been doing this a long time, and I’ve never had a client ask for such a thing,” Marler told The Globe.

The lawyer says that other plaintiffs — especially college-aged customers — have already returned to eating at the restaurant.

“I have to admit, it’s pretty unusual. … A lot of these people were really sick, some hospitalized for significant periods of time with tens of thousands of dollars in medical expenses,” he says.

One of those customers, the Globe reports, is the son of a Boston-area attorney who assisted. Marler. That lawyer’s 17-year-old son initially had the idea of seeking a burritos-for-life settlement with Chipotle, but his mother eventually talked him out of it.

He’ll likely be spending some of his cash settlement at the eatery, as the teen’s mom says he’s already returned to dining at Chipotle regularly.

Despite these apparently devoted Chipotle customers, the chain has struggled to bounce back from the spate of illnesses.

The company, which is still struggling to bring back customers after sales have fallen more than 40% in the last 12 months, continues to face a federal criminal investigation into food-safety, and a civil lawsuit filed by investors.

Among payouts for Chipotle outbreaks: Free burritos [The Boston Globe]