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Chipotle faces another lawsuit over norovirus outbreak

Scores of Boston College students and others were sickened by the December norovirus outbreak.Suzanne Kreiter/Globe Staff/Globe Staff

A 28-year-old Brighton woman on Tuesday sued Chipotle Mexican Grill, becoming the third person to seek damages following a norovirus outbreak blamed on the chain’s Cleveland Circle restaurant.

Whitney Hansen ate a burrito at the restaurant Dec. 4 and fell ill with nausea and vomiting, according to her complaint in Suffolk Superior Court.

At least 136 people suffered similar symptoms after consuming food from the restaurant, where an employee had come to work ill.

Bill Marler, the Seattle food-safety attorney representing the three plaintiffs, has said he is working with Chipotle to settle these cases and others out of court. Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold has also indicated the restaurant wants “to take care of customers who have been impacted by incidents like this.”


The city ordered the restaurant closed Dec. 7 after finding three serious food-safety violations, including the reports of multiple illnesses. The Boston Public Health Commission reported that 136 people fell ill with norovirus after eating there; Boston College health services said 141 had reported illnesses. The restaurant reopened Dec. 26.

Norovirus causes a day or two of vomiting and diarrhea; the illness is intense but rarely has lasting effects, especially in healthy young people.

Felice J. Freyer can be reached at felice.freyer@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @felicejfreyer.