Chipotle Wins Dismissal of GMO False-Ad Suit, Loses Gender Discrimination Case
A California federal court has dismissed a lawsuit against Chipotle Mexican
Grill Inc. alleging the company falsely advertises its food as free of genetically
modified organisms (GMOs) despite selling meat and dairy produced
from animals fed GMO products as well as soft drinks manufactured with
GMO corn syrup. Gallagher v. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc., No. 15-3952
(N.D. Cal., order entered February 5, 2016). The plaintiff had failed to
plausibly plead her allegations, the court found, because she failed to specify
which products she purchased. Accordingly, the court granted Chipotle’s
motion to dismiss but allowed the plaintiff leave to amend. Additional
information about the complaint appears in Issue 577 of this Update.
Meanwhile, a jury ordered Chipotle to pay $351,936 in back pay and
$255,000 in punitive damages to three female former managers at restaurants
near Cincinnati, Ohio, over allegations of gender discrimination.
Rogers v. Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., No. 13-0146 (S.D. Ohio, verdict
entered February 8, 2016). The women argued that Chipotle fired them
for performance issues despite that several male managers with similar or
worse performance scores were not fired. In addition, the man who later
fired the three women reportedly told one of them that there was “too much
estrogen” in the restaurant because the manager and assistant manager
were both female. Another trial for additional claims by two other women is
scheduled for April. See Law360, February 9, 2016.