Minor Alexander Keough is one of 153 victims to fall ill with Norovirus after dining at a Chipotle restaurant in Brighton, MA – The family has filed the first lawsuit from the Chipotle norovirus outbreak.
On December 17, 2015, Brookline resident Andrea Dow filed a lawsuit against Chipotle Mexican Grill on behalf of her son, Alexander Keough, who was hospitalized with a Norovirus infection after consuming a burrito prepared by a Chipotle restaurant in Brighton, Massachusetts. The plaintiff is represented by William D. Marler, managing partner at Marler Clark LLP, The Food Safety Law Firm as well as Alexander’s own mother, Andrea C. Dow at Dow and Associates. Chipotle is a Delaware establishment that operates fast-casual, fresh Mexican food restaurants nationwide.
On December 4, 2015, Alexander consumed a burrito around 6pm at the 1924 Beacon Street Chipotle restaurant in Brighton, MA. He first became ill at 4am on December 6, when he experienced uncontrollable vomiting and nausea. Alexander was taken to Children’s Hospital in Boston later that afternoon, where he was treated with Zofran, which eased his vomiting. However, his vomiting then continued to persist, and that evening, Alexander suffered multiple bouts of painful diarrhea.
Alexander’s symptoms lasted throughout the night and into the following day, December 7. His parents sought advice from his physician, who told them to keep Alexander hydrated. That day, Alexander’s family learned of the Norovirus outbreak linked to Chipotle, and contacted health authorities to report his illness. Alexander continued to suffer from his symptoms for the next several days.
On December 11, 2015, Boston health officials reported an increased number of Norovirus cases linked to the consumption of contaminated food at the Chipotle restaurant in Brighton, with the case-count having reached 153. All but seven victims are students at Boston College, and 141 students had told college health officials that they had become ill after eating at the restaurant. The college said an additional twelve people caught the highly infectious virus from classmates who had dined at the same Chipotle location.
“Chipotle really needs to get its act together,” said Bill Marler, who represented 9-year-old Brianne Kiner, the most severely injured survivor of the Jack in the Box E.coli outbreak in 1993. He continued, “I’ve been doing this for almost 25 years, and the number of possible cases in such a short period of time is something I’ve never really seen before.” Marler isn’t just referring to the Brighton Norovirus outbreak – Chipotle has been linked to 5 foodborne illness outbreaks this year alone.
Health officials have not determined exactly how the virus got into food at the restaurant, which was closed Monday after inspectors found three serious violations: failure to keep meat hot enough, multiple reports of food-borne illness, and an employee who was sick while at work on December 3, 2015.
Humans are the only host of Norovirus, and it can spread quickly and easily through person-to-person contact, or through contamination of food or water. Norovirus illnesses usually develop 24 to 48 hours after ingestion of contaminated items, and symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, headache, and low-grade fever. Although symptoms typically last only one to two days in healthy individuals, people with compromised immune systems, including children, elderly, and hospitalized people, are most susceptible to severe Norovirus symptoms. As there is no specific treatment available for Norovirus, the illness may result in severe complications, and death may result without prompt measures. Find more information on Norovirus here.
Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of foodborne illness outbreaks. The lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Norovirus and other foodborne illness outbreaks, and have recovered over $600 million for clients. Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation. Marler Clark attorneys have litigated foodborne illness cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of foods, such as cantaloupe, tomatoes, ground turkey, salami, sprouts, cereal, peanut butter, and food served in restaurants. The firm has brought foodborne illness lawsuits against companies such as Cargill, ConAgra, Peanut Corporation of America, Sheetz, Taco Bell, Subway and Wal-Mart.