Subway Settles Sandwich Length Deceptive Trade Practices Lawsuit

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

October 27, 2015

deceptive-trade-practiceEarlier this month, a federal judge in Milwaukee preliminarily approved the settlement of a class action deceptive trade practices lawsuit surrounding the advertised length of sandwiches sold by fast food giant Doctor’s Associates Inc. d/b/a Subway Restaurants (“Subway”).

How does Subway’s settlement agreement measure up?

Deceptive Trade Practices Suits

In December 2013, nine separate federal deceptive trade practices lawsuits filed in Arkansas, California, Illinois, New Jersey, North Dakota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin were consolidated in the Eastern District of Wisconsin. The lawsuit’s class consists of everyone in the United States who purchased a “foot-long” or “six-Inch” Subway sandwich between January 1, 2003 and October 2, 2015.

The ten class representatives claim that they relied on the “foot-long” or “six-inch” designations of their Subway sandwiches, but found their subs to be approximately 10% shorter than advertised. The consolidated class action lawsuit alleges that Subway violated the consumer protection laws of all fifty states and the District of Columbia. In addition to their attorneys’ fees, the plaintiffs demanded “equitable relief to ensure that its ‘Footlong’ subs are 12 inches in length, and to advise the public that the length of ‘Footlong’ subs may vary.”

Court Preliminarily Approves Subway’s Settlement Agreement

Last month, in exchange for a full release from the deceptive trade practices suits and all other claims brought by Class Members regarding the “length, size, shape, mass, weight, width, dimensions or proportions” of its sandwiches, Subway agreed to pay each of the ten class representatives a “Service Award” of $1,000, as well as $525,000 toward their collective attorneys’ fees.

Additionally, for a period of four years, Subway has agreed to:

  • Use a tool to measure bread in each Subway restaurant;
  • Conduct monthly compliance inspections where bread loaves are measured;
  • Institute internal penalties for Subway restaurants that sell non-compliant sandwiches; and
  • Provide consumers with the following notice: “Due to natural variations in the bread baking process, the size and shape of bread may vary.”

The Settlement Agreement only applies to claims for injunctive relief and the monetary claims of the ten named plaintiffs. The agreement expressly “does not bar Class Members from seeking monetary damages, or instituting any lawsuit to recover monetary damages.”

Earlier this month, the court issued an Order preliminarily approving the Settlement Agreement “as fair, reasonable and adequate” and certifying the settlement class.

The Value of Legal Compliance Is Beyond Measure

When it comes to class action defense, a penny of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  The best way to succeed in any deceptive trade practices lawsuit is to never appear on plaintiffs’ radar screen in the first place.  Are you currently working on a regular basis with experienced compliance counsel?  Retaining counsel versed in the intricacies and nuances of state and federal marketing law will go a long way toward making sure a class action complaint, or regulatory complaint, never gets filed in the first place.

If you are interested in ensuring that you are compliant with current marketing regulations, or if you are facing class action litigation, please e-mail us at info@kleinmoynihan.com, or call us at (212) 246-0900.

The material contained herein is provided for informational purposes only and is not legal advice, nor is it a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney. Each situation is unique, and you should not act or rely on any information contained herein without seeking the advice of an experienced attorney.

Attorney Advertising

Related Blog Posts:

Man Who Allegedly Violated Deceptive Marketing Court Order Held in Contempt

Carrot Neurotechnology Settles Deceptive Advertising Claims with FTC

Marketer to Pay $58K to FTC for Allegedly Deceptive Mobile Apps

David O. Klein

David O. Klein

David Klein is one of the most recognized attorneys in the telemarketing, technology, Internet marketing, sweepstakes and telecommunications fields. Skilled at counseling clients on a broad range of technology-related matters, David Klein has substantial experience in negotiating and drafting complex licensing, marketing and Internet agreements.

Schedule a Call
In The Know

Trending Topics

Creating a Viral and Legally Compliant "Pin to Win" Contest- Klein Moynihan Turco

Creating a Viral (And Legally Compliant) “Pin to Win” Contest

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

We have frequently written about the marketing benefits associated with the use of promotional contests and sweepstakes.  Promotional contests and sweepstakes often appear on social media platforms, which provide companies with a free and effective means to increase the number of consumers participating in their respective contests. While companies must

Facebook Decision defines a TCPA Autodialer- Klein Moynihan Turco LLP

Facebook Aftermath: Courts Clarify Definition of TCPA Autodialer

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

On April 1st, the U.S. Supreme Court released its opinion in Facebook, Inc. v. Duguid, marking a newly clarified definition of “autodialer” within the meaning of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”). In the two weeks that followed, two federal courts have directly addressed the definition of TCPA autodialer as

Critical Role that TCPA Plays in Outbound Telemarketing- KMT

The Critical Role that the TCPA Plays in Outbound Telemarketing

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

If you’re running any sort of outbound telemarketing campaign – phone calls, voicemail drops, or text messaging – you need to understand the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and its enabling regulations. Call center operators are not the only businesses that employ outbound telemarketing to reach out to consumers. Using

How to Use Promotional Marketing the Legal Way: Klein Moynihan Turco LLP

How To Use Promotional Marketing The Legal Way

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The use of promotional contests, games and sweepstakes marketing can be a dynamic and cost-effective way to increase sales, build a database of interested consumers and otherwise increase brand awareness and buzz. Consumers are more easily attracted to your marketing message by the opportunity to win prizes than with more

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin