Pennsylvania Record

Friday, November 15, 2019

Judge doesn't let Villanova Univ. out of lawsuit over whether Chipotle made student sick

State Court

By Nicholas Malfitano | Oct 21, 2019

Chipotle
Chipotle Mexican Grill

PHILADELPHIA – A judge has decreed that Villanova University will not be dismissed from the lawsuit of a former student who says he was forced into hiatus from his education due to illness resulting from consuming contaminated food in a Chipotle Mexican Grill on the school’s campus.

Counsel for the school filed a stipulation on Oct. 7 and which was awaiting judicial approval, that it had been mutually agreed by plaintiff Brendan Kenny and Villanova University that the school would be dismissed from the case.

However, Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas Judge Shelley Robins-New ruled on Oct. 10, citing Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure 229(b)(1): “A discontinuance may not be entered as to less than all defendants except upon written consent of all parties or leave of court upon motion.”

Brendan Kenny of Mendham, N.J. first filed suit in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas on Oct. 27, 2017 versus Chipotle Mexican Grill of Ardmore and related entities (who were later dismissed from the case), plus Villanova University of Radnor.

On Dec. 4, 2015, Kenny, then 19, was a freshman at Villanova University and a member of the school’s NCAA Division I lacrosse team. That same day, Kenny purchased and consumed chicken, rice and beans from a Chipotle Mexican Grill location on Lancaster Avenue in Ardmore, he says.

The following day, Dec. 5, 2015, Kenny purchased and consumed bacon and a biscuit from The Court at Donahue, located in the Villanova University dining hall, he says.

But unbeknownst to Kenny, one or more of the food products he had purchased and consumed at the Chipotle restaurant or the school dining hall contained one or more food-borne protozoa, and therefore was unsafe for human consumption, he says.

On Dec. 5, 2015, Kenny said he became severely ill, suffering from symptoms including, but not limited to, extreme vomiting, severe stomach cramping and pain, chest pain, palpitations, headache, chills, fatigue, weight loss, insomnia and other injuries. By the early morning hours of Dec. 6, 2015, Kenny’s symptoms worsened drastically, requiring him to visit a hospital emergency room, the suit says. There, he was diagnosed with amoebiasis, a life-altering condition caused by infection by the parasite Entamoeba histolytica. he says.

Due to the “ongoing and relentless illness and pain," Kenny claimed he was forced to take a prolonged leave of absence from his enrollment at Villanova University.

The plaintiff said the defendants either knew or should have known that their food was contaminated with pathogenic protozoa and thus not fit for retail sale and human consumption, among numerous other charges.

The defendants have denied that they are responsible for Kenny’s amoebiasis.

For multiple counts of strict liability, negligence, negligence per se and breach of warranty, the plaintiff is seeking damages, jointly and severally, in excess of $50,000, plus interest, costs and delay damages pursuant to Pa.R.C.P. Section 238.

The plaintiff is represented by Robert J. Mongeluzzi, Andrew R. Duffy and E. Douglas Disandro, Jr. of Saltz Mongeluzzi Barrett & Bendesky, in Philadelphia.

The defendants are represented by Andrew J. Connolly and Matthew D. Johnson of Post & Schell, plus Jeffrey H. Quinn and Christopher T. Lee of Dickie McCamey & Chilcote, all in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 171003544

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at nick.malfitano@therecordinc.com

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