Lake Oswego man sues Chipotle after E. coli outbreak
Web developer Christopher Collins says he fell ill two days after eating at the chain's Centerpointe Drive location
A Lake Oswego man is suing Chipotle for unspecified damages, saying he tested positive for E. coli shortly after dining at the restaurant chains Centerpoint Drive location.
According to the lawsuit filed in federal court in Portland on Friday, 32-year-old Lake Oswego web developer Christopher Collins fell ill two days after eating a chicken bowl at the Chipotle on Centerpointe Drive. Collins alleges he experienced a headache, general fatigue, severe gastrointestinal distress and a temperature of 100 degrees. He sought emergency medical treatment at Legacy Meridian Park Medical Center on Oct. 28.
Collins says he has not been able to return to work since, and that his wife, Kellie, has been unable to work due to her unexpected caretaker role. Collins is represented by attorney William D. Marler of Marler Clark, a Seattle law firm that specializes in personal liability cases related to food poisoning.
Earlier last week, Charmaine Mode, a 41-year-old woman from Kelso, Wash., filed her own lawsuit against Chipotle in Washington state; Jessica Ellis, 28, of Mount Vernon, Wash., filed suit on Friday. Like Collins, Ellis is represented by Marler Clark; all three victims are seeking unspecified damages, accusing the restaurant chain of negligence.
Marler told NBC News he has been retained by about a dozen other people who became sick after eating at Chipotle. Two of those people are children, ages 8 and 14, who were hospitalized at a Seattle childrens hospital for about a week, Marler said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, Shiga toxin-producing E. coli has an incubation period of anywhere from one to 10 days, but sufferers typically experience symptoms three to four days after exposure. The strain can cause kidney failure or worse.
The Oregon Health Authority has confirmed 15 cases of E. coli in Clackamas, Multnomah, Washington and Columbia counties, with four hospitalizations required. No deaths have been reported. The Oregon cases have been traced back to the Chipotle restaurants at Cascade Station, Washington Square, Lake Oswego, Tanasbourne and Clackamas Town Center. Washington state health authorities said this week they still have 28 cases, including 10 people who have been hospitalized.
Both the OHA and its Washington counterpart are asking anyone who ate at a Chipotle restaurant in October and came down with symptoms of severe diarrhea on or after Oct. 29 to contact their local health department to get tested for E. coli.
All 43 Chipotle restaurants in the Portland area and Washington state including the Lake Oswego location remained closed over the weekend. But neither state health officials nor the chain itself have been able to identify the source of the E. coli outbreak and most locations were given permission to reopen as early as Wednesday, as long as the chain met certain requirements:
-- All produce must be tossed and replaced;
-- Employees must complete a deep cleaning of each store;
-- The restaurants must pass a local health inspection;
-- And the company must institute a new protocol for cleaning produce.