Compensation claims for illnesses contracted at the Chipotle Mexican Grill in Simi Valley have been filed in California following last August´s norovirus outbreak.
Last August, 234 customers of the Chipotle Mexican Grill in Simi Valley, California, contacted the Ventura County Environmental Health Division complaining of gastrointestinal illnesses. The source of their illnesses was a kitchen manager, who first displayed symptoms of an illness on August 18th, but who continued to work at the restaurant until he was diagnosed with norovirus on August 20th.
However, rather than inform the Health Division of the contamination at the time, the restaurant closed its doors for a day “due to staff shortages” and conducted a deep clean-up operation in an alleged attempt to cover up and conceal evidence of the norovirus outbreak. The norovirus outbreak was only reported to health officials once the restaurant reopened several days later.
Dozens of those affected by the kitchen manager´s negligence are making compensation claims for illnesses contracted at the Chipotle Mexican Grill. According to the lawyer handling the claims, the plaintiffs are seeking compensation for lost wages, medical costs, and additional damages. Many more customers of the restaurant may still decide to join the legal action.
The early indications are that the restaurant chain will contest the compensation claims for illnesses contracted at the Chipotle Mexican Grill. A company spokesperson said: “Generally speaking, the actions we took on the heels of this incident – including reporting it to county health officials – were appropriate.” This is despite the actions of the restaurant being the subject of a criminal investigation.
Chipotle Board Under Pressure from Investors
The restaurant company´s board of directors already have enough on their plate to deal with. Even before the compensation claims for illnesses contracted at the Chipotle Mexican Grill were filed last week at the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California the company had been served with a securities lawsuit by its own shareholders claiming that the company had mislead them about the nature of its sanitary procedures.
A number of outbreaks of foodborne illnesses have been attributed to poor hygiene standards at Chipotle restaurants; including an E.coli outbreak affecting twenty customers in Oregon, an outbreak of norovirus affecting 140 customers in Boston and an outbreak of salmonella food poisoning in Minnesota. Since last October, shares in the company have fallen 45 percent – a situation that will not be helped by the most recent compensation claims for illnesses contracted at the Chipotle Mexican Grill.
Changes to personal injury claims procedures introduced on 1st August 2013 will speed up compensation settlements in claims with a value of up to £25,000.
The second of two changes to the Civil Procedure Rules took effect on 1st August 2013, and whereas the changes to the personal injury claims procedures in April of this year took away some of the benefits of making “Contingency Fee” compensation claims, the most recent changes should allow claimants to receive their compensation settlements within a shorter time frame.
The new procedures will see the length of time negligent parties and their insurance companies have to acknowledge “Letters of Claim” reduced to one day from twenty-one days, and the number of days available for them to conduct their own investigations into a claim reduced from ninety days to thirty days (forty days in the event of a compensation claim for an accident at work).
The aim of the new procedures is to reduce the costs of pursuing a claim for personal injury compensation when the value of the claim is less than £25,000 and when liability is not disputed. Any negligent party or insurance company who fails to adhere to these guidelines will not be able to take advantage of the Ministry of Justice Claims Portal and will face higher costs in defending the claim.
There are numerous exceptions to the new Civil Procedure Rules and there will be no change to the personal injury claims procedures in the following events:-
If an injury has been sustained due to the negligence of a private individual – for example if a homeowner has damaged the pavement outside their house over which you have tripped and fallen
If the injury which is being claimed for is an acquired disease either at work (for example COPD due to your working environment) or a place of public access (for example food poisoning in a restaurant)
If an injury has been sustained in an accident or scenario involving more than one party – for example a car accident in which more than one person was to blame
If an injury was sustained in an accident for which you were partly to blame or if your injury was exacerbated due to your own lack of care (also known as “Contributory Negligence”).
If a loss, an injury or the deterioration of an existing condition was due to medical negligence – either at a hospital or in private practice such as at the dentist
If you have developed mesothelioma due to exposure to asbestos, or if you are claiming on behalf of an individual who has died due to mesothelioma cancer
If you have sustained an injury due to the negligence of a party who is uninsured, insolvent or untraceable – such as if you are injured in a hit and run accident.
The changes apply to injuries which have been sustained or diagnosed in England or Wales from 1st August onwards, and do not affect the length of time you have after an injury has been discovered in which to claim personal injury compensation – currently three years in the UK.
Should you require further information about how the changes to the personal injury claims procedures may affect you in your particular circumstances, you are advised to speak with a personal injury lawyer at the earliest opportunity.
The Food Standards Agency is investigating salmonella in watermelon claims following the death of one person and thirty other reported cases of food poisoning in the UK relating to pre-packed ready-to-eat watermelon slices.
Cases of similar illness have also been reported in Germany and the Republic of Ireland, and officials at the Health Protection Agency are treating the outbreak of salmonella poisoning with particular caution – issuing advice to wash all fruit and vegetables thoroughly before eating them.
The origin of the salmonella contaminated watermelons is not yet firmly established, but they are believed to come from a food preparation unit in Brazil; where the watermelons may have been washed in unclean water or cut with a contaminated knife. Of the thirty people known to have developed the “Salmonella Newton” strain of salmonella, fifteen have confirmed that they had eaten watermelon within the preceding week.
The salmonella in watermelon claims victims in similar ways to other strains of food poisoning, with victims suffering from diarrhoea, vomiting, fever and abdominal pains which last from four to seven days. Some people will need a course of antibiotics to prevent complications such as septicaemia and infection, and people recognising the early symptoms of food poisoning are advised to seek medical attention immediately.
Subject to the medical prognosis, it will be possible for salmonella in watermelon claims for compensation to be made against the retail outlets responsible for selling the contaminated watermelons. This is most likely to be snack kiosks or small shops with self-service fridges rather than the larger grocery stores, although some cafes and restaurants may also be liable if they have served the contaminated watermelons on their premises.
In order to assist with determining liability and the preparation of injury compensation claims, those suffering from salmonella in watermelon food poisoning are advised to speak with a lawyer at the earliest possible opportunity.