January 25, 2016

Great moments in the law

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Is Subway’s promise to do a better job making sure its sandwiches measure up to their advertised lengths worth nearly $6 million a year to customers?

That’s the big question that could unwrap a proposed settlement of a class action lawsuit over too-short subs now pending before a Milwaukee federal judge.

Four people, including the director of a class-action watchdog organization, filed objections with U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman, who is overseeing the litigation that combined several Subway lawsuits from around the country. The lawsuits got rolling after one customer's social media post of a ruler next to his sub went viral.

Adelman gave his preliminary approval to the proposed settlement in October, and held a settlement fairness hearing last week.

The deal announced last fall would have paid up to $1,000 to the few named plaintiffs, as class representatives, but nothing to the millions of other customers who may have purchased sandwiches shorter than six inches or a foot long, as advertised by Subway.

The settlement did not find Subway's marketing was unlawful or improper.

But the settlement also would require Subway to continue new procedures meant to guarantee more buns (all made from the same weight of dough) measure six or 12 inches when they become part of a sandwich.

That injunctive relief benefits all class members to the tune of about $5.9 million a year, according to an economics expert hired by the plaintiffs’ attorneys.

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