Why The Subway ‘Footlong’ Lawsuits Fell Short

Why The Subway 'Footlong' Lawsuits Fell Short

You may recall the lawsuit against Subway Restaurants for selling “12 inch” and “footlong” sandwiches that were allegedly less than 12 inches long. The case attracted lots of media attention and consumer sniggers because of Subway’s ubiquity (and the endless possibilities for double entendres). However, the lawsuit’s denouement turned out to be far less titillating. Subway agreed to settle the case for about a half-million dollars–almost all of which goes to the plaintiffs’ lawyers–plus some minor changes in Subway’s practices, such as additional disclosures to consumers. See the settlement website.

When the settlement was announced, some folks found it hard to believe that Subway could settle such a major case for so cheap. As the details have emerged, however, it looks like the plaintiffs were lucky to get anything. In the court’s final approval of the settlement, the judge explains why the case was “quite weak”:

1. “Doctor’s Associates’ own testing showed that the vast majority of bread sold in Subway restaurants was at least 12 inches long, and that most of the bread that happened to be shorter than 12 inches was less than 1/4-inch shorter.”

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