Footlongs Measure Up: Subway Lawsuit Settled

Back in 2013, we here at Abnormal Use wrote about a class action lawsuit filed against Subway challenging the restaurant’s “footlong” sandwich claims. The crux of the allegations in the suit was that Subway’s sub sandwiches measured in at just under 12″ long and, thus, were not worthy of the “footlong” label. We questioned the merits of such a suit and were curious as to how it would play out. Now, some two years later, we finally have an answer. According to reports, Subway has reached a settlement in which it will pay $500 to the 10 named plaintiffs. Subway will also spend the next four years placing a “measuring device” in its stores to make certain its subs are, in fact, 12″ long. But, the real kicker is that Subway will also have to pay approximately $500,000 for the plaintiffs’ legal fees.

As far as class action lawsuits against major corporations are concerned, the settlement appears to be pretty light. While the lawyers may have gotten a hefty payday, the plaintiffs only racked up a grand total of $5,000 and, in turn, Subway has to put a ruler in its restaurants. Not exactly world changing for either side.

So, how did Subway get off so cheap? As expected, the case was lacking in the merits department. According to a report from Forbes, testing revealed that the vast majority of the bread was at least 12″ long and any bread that didn’t meet the threshold erred by less than 1/4″. Moreover, the raw dough sticks used to bake the bread weigh exactly the same. The length of the subs varied only due to natural variability in the baking process. In other words, not only does Subway’s sub length largely measure up, the damage the plaintiffs incurred due to any inaccuracies in the bread length is almost non-existent.

Unfortunately, it took two years to reach a resolution to this case lacking in merit. As we mentioned two years ago, a person receiving a sub he/she expects is less than 12″ long could have likely remedied the situation simply by asking for a new bun or even a refund for that matter. After all, Subway makes its subs right in front of the customer and adds toppings at the customer’s direction. Wouldn’t the customer be able to suspect that the sub is short during the process? If not, then would the difference really be big enough to matter? Thankfully, Subway now has rulers, so this will NEVER happen again.