Subway 'Footlong' Settlement Draws Near

Subway 'Footlong' Settlement Draws Near SoHome Jacaranda Lilau A 12-inch Subway ham sandwich

The legal saga of Subway’s not-quite footlong subs is closing in on settlement, with all major issues resolved except for determining attorney’s fees, according to a filing in the case.

Plaintiffs’ counsel in the consolidated, but still putative, class action informed the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin on March 18 that they and attorneys for Subway’s owner, Doctor’s Associates Inc., have executed a memorandum of understanding with only the lawyers’ fees still to be hashed out.

This could mark the beginning of the end of the 2013 sandwich scandal that manifested in nine proposed class actions in six states, all of which argued Subway violated state consumer protection laws by engaging in false, deceptive and misleading advertising, and in unfair acts and practices. The cases were consolidated in the Wisconsin court as In re: Subway Footlong Sandwich Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation.

The complaint is illustrated with a half dozen photographs of subs with rulers showing their lengths. The photos, and the accounts of individual plaintiffs, show the sandwiches averaged about 11 inches, with only one approaching a foot, at 11 ¾ inches. Similarly, the subs sold as “6 inch” sandwiches commonly measure closer to five. Read the complaint here.

At first, Subway’s corporate management blamed the shorted subs on franchisees, but, after several complaints were filed, the company apologized and vowed to “redouble our efforts to ensure consistency and correct length. The company also acknowledged that each franchisee is required to use bread bought from a centralized supply source that prepares and freezes the standardized individual loaves, and delivers them to the sandwich shops.

Plaintiffs’ counsel include Thomas Zimmerman, Jr., Adam Tamburelli and Frank Stretz, of Zimmerman Law Offices, P.C., Chicago, and Stephen DeNittis, of DeNittis Osefchen, P.C., Marlton, N.J.

Lisa Hoffman contributes to The National Law Journal.