April Beck of Minneapolis, MN, dined at Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. at 2600 Hennepin Ave. S. on Aug 10, 2015, and within five days was showing signs of having been infected with Salmonella Newport. She is among 45 or more Salmonella cases involving the restaurant chain that have been reported since Sept. 2 to the Minnesota Department of Health. Beck was taken to the hospital with severe stomach cramps and diarrhea on Aug. 23. She was treated with IV fluids for severe dehydration and was not discharged until Sept. 1. However, Beck was later re-admitted for blood clots in both arms and released for a second time on Sept. 4. After she was discharged, the Minnesota Department of Health confirmed that she was infected with the outbreak stain of Salmonella Newport associated with the ongoing outbreak linked to Chipotle restaurants in Minnesota. Beck has since continued to suffer from bouts of diarrhea and blood clots. On Thursday, Sept. 10, Beck sued Chipotle in U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota. Represented by attorneys Joseph Flynn in St. Paul, MN, and William D. Marler in Seattle, Beck has filed a four-count federal lawsuit against the restaurant chain (Marler is also publisher of Food Safety News.). She is suing based on strict liability, breach of warranty, negligence and negligence per se. Her complaint states that the 1,847-unit restaurant chain has the responsibility to deliver to the plaintiff food fit for human consumption. It notes that “Salmonella contaminated food” would not be fit for the uses intended. Any ingredients served should have been “free from adulteration, and safe for human consumption, but it failed to do so, and was therefore negligent.” Further, the defendant failed to comply with health and safety acts, according to the complaint. Beck wants the restaurant chain to pay compensation, prejudgement interest, reasonable attorney fees, and whatever additional judgement and relief the court deems “just and equitable.” The ongoing investigation into one of two recent outbreaks involving Chipotle is focused on finding a specific food item as the source of the outbreak. The Salmonella Newport outbreak has reportedly led to Chipotle changing its produce supplier for the Minneapolis area. The Salmonella serotype is one of 2,500 known to cause human illnesses. The infection is usually transmitted to humans by food contaminated with animal feces or handled by workers with poor personal hygiene.
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