The Rapid City chipotle fight has been brewing for weeks now, but the timing is unfortunate.
On Wednesday, Chipotle announced that it was shutting down all restaurants and stores in the state of Georgia, and on Thursday, a lawsuit was filed against Chipotle and its parent company, Chipotreas parent company.
The lawsuit, filed by Georgia’s attorney general and filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Georgia on Tuesday, accuses Chipotle of violating state and federal antitrust laws and other consumer protection laws, and has threatened to take legal action against the company for violating the federal Fair Food and Drug Act.
The state claims that Chipotle’s business model and practices violate the Fair Food Act and the Georgia Consumer Protection Act, as well as the Fair Labor Standards Act.
According to the complaint, Chipots business model involves the production of fast food food at a profit and the distribution of it via franchised restaurants, which are legally required to be franchised and subject to strict food safety, health, and safety regulations.
The complaint states that this system of business, in addition to other corporate practices, violates the Fair Consumer Protection Acts.
“Chipotle’s corporate practices and corporate policies have created an unjust, predatory, and abusive system of competition and predatory pricing,” the complaint reads.
“The lawsuit alleges that in violation of the Fair Fair Food, Labor, and Consumer Act, Chipos profits and market share are being driven to the detriment of consumers and the food supply, and the company is engaged in a pattern and practice of conduct that deprives consumers of safe and nutritious food products at reasonable prices.”
According to an article published by The Hill newspaper, the lawsuit alleges the company’s franchisees have not been allowed to negotiate the terms of the contracts with customers and that the company has not been able to negotiate prices for its food.
Chipotle claims the lawsuits are based on “unfounded and unsubstantiated claims” and is attempting to silence the public by threatening to sue the states attorneys general, the Georgia Secretary of State, the state attorney general, and any other public official.
A Chipotle spokesperson confirmed that the lawsuit was not based on any specific facts, but noted that the corporation has not yet reached any settlements with any of the state attorneys general.
The attorney general for Georgia, Jay Bolger, issued a statement saying, “While we will not be commenting on specific lawsuits, it is our policy not to comment on pending litigation.”
According a report by the Associated Press, Georgia Attorney General Jay Bolgers office announced a lawsuit against Chipotles parent company in January that accused the company of engaging in anticompetitive conduct, engaging in unlawful price fixing, and engaging in deceptive marketing practices.
In a statement, the Chipotle representative said, “Chipotle is a national leader in the fast food industry and we have worked tirelessly to provide a safe and delicious experience for customers, and we are disappointed by the lawsuit that has been filed against us.”