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Consumers Win in Subway Footlong Settlement as Plaintiffs Walk Away

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In a win for class action fairness, the saga of the too-short Subway sandwich lawsuit has come to an apparent end after plaintiffs abandoned efforts to pursue the case further. An appeals court in August had already rejected the proposed settlement in the Subway Footlong case, a settlement that would have paid plaintiffs’ attorneys over half a million dollars while leaving the class members with nothing. This week the plaintiffs in the case decided not to continue to pursue the claims on remand in the district court.

“The Subway sandwich litigation was a racket used by plaintiffs’ attorneys to extract fees for themselves, as the Seventh Circuit rightly recognized,” said Ted Frank, director of CEI’s Center for Class Action Fairness and the Subway customer objecting to the settlement. “We hope the failure of this frivolous lawsuit and unfair settlement deal will discourage others from pursuing frivolous class actions.”

The original class action lawsuit alleged that sandwiches sold by the Subway restaurant franchise sometimes fell short of the chain’s “footlong” marketing claims. No one disputed the fact that the actual weight of the dough and the amount of ingredients was uniform for each sandwich; and even the named plaintiffs in the lawsuit conceded that the exact length of the sandwiches didn’t affect their purchases or change their future plans to eat at Subway. Moreover, before the litigation started, the company had already taken steps to reduce minor disparities in the length of its bread rolls during baking. Nonetheless, the plaintiffs’ lawyers sought a fee award and payments to class representatives totaling $525,000.

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals agreed that class actions should not be allowed to proceed when their only effect is to enrich lawyers while producing no relief for the class members themselves.

CEI’s Center for Class Action Fairness represents class members against unfair class action procedures and settlements. Founded by Ted Frank in 2009, the Center has won millions of dollars for consumers and shareholders and won landmark precedents that safeguard consumers, investors, courts, and the general public.