I’ve learned a lot of things in the last 6 months, and one of those things is that people get really angry when they find out that their Subway “footlong” sandwich is actually only 11 inches. What began as a customer complaint on Facebook has morphed into a high-publicity lawsuit that will play out in our own backyard: the Eastern District of Wisconsin.
Earlier this year, an Australian man posted a picture of his sub alongside a ruler on Subway’s Facebook page, accompanied by the message “subway plz respond.” The picture set off a firestorm on Facebook as customers around the world began complaining and posting their own pictures of Subway sandwiches that failed to live up to expectations. Shortly thereafter, the New York Post conducted its own investigation and found that 4 out of 7 “footlongs” purchased in Manhattan measured only 11 or 11.5 inches.
Naturally, some aggrieved customers have taken their complaints to the ultimate sandwich boss, the federal court system. Plaintiff Nguyen Buren filed a lawsuit in Chicago alleging a “pattern of fraudulent, deceptive, and otherwise improper advertising, sales, and marketing practices.” Two New Jersey residents also filed suits against Subway, alleging that “despite the repeated use of uniform language by Subway stating that this sandwich is a ‘footlong,’ the product in question is not, in fact, a foot long. Rather this product consistently measures significantly less than 12 inches in length.” Both suits seek class certification.
Due to increasing claims from different parts of the U.S., the defendants filed a motion to have the litigation centralized. Earlier this month, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) granted the motion, citing common questions in seven separate actions that have been filed against Subway. The JPML’s choice of venue: the Eastern District of Wisconsin, which provides “a geographically central forum for this nationwide litigation, and will be convenient and accessible for the parties and witnesses.” It remains unknown whether Jared will serve as an expert witness.