Chipotle slapped with $2.2b lawsuit…for what?!

When it rains, it pours

Chipotle’s made the news for legitimate issues recently, but the latest headline-grabbing happening is a bit much. Leah Caldwell, the California woman suing the company, alleges that Chipotle slim hoodie taking photoused an image of her snapped 10 years ago at a Denver location for nationwide in-store ads despite her explicitly denying the photog’s request. The suit also claims that Chipotle Photoshopped beer bottles into the foreground, stating the image cast, “false light upon her character associated with consuming alcoholic beverages.” And of course if Caldwell didn’t give permission for her image to be used, or sign a release, then she has every right to sue. But here’s the kicker – the suit is seeking $2.2 billion dollars, Chipotle’s earnings over the last nine years.

More than anything this is an example of why, “when it rains, it pours” is a saying we just can’t get rid of. Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold told the LA Times the restaurant chain “does not discuss details surrounding any pending legal action”, adding that, “The filing of a lawsuit is purely allegation and is proof of absolutely nothing”. In the end the result of this suit is a likely to be a lot closer to the price of a truckload of burritos than a billion dollars, and unless something significant changes we wouldn’t expect Chipotle to add fuel to the fire by contributing further to any public discussion.

Erik Bernstein

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