How important is it that I have a sandwich in my hand moments after I think about it? Important enough to risk a life? Jimmy John’s “credo of speedy delivery” was probably never intended to compromise the safety of the public when it promises to get your sandwich order to you “freaky fast,” but that’s what one Las Vegas injury attorney argued on behalf of his client who was involved in a crash with a Jimmy John’s delivery vehicle. The Las Vegas Review Journal reports that the franchise with 11 valley locations reached a settlement with the injured motorcyclist, whose lawyer apparently had a pretty convincing case.
The plaintiff in the suit was a 19 year old motorcyclist who was heading into work when a Jimmy John’s delivery driver cut him off, resulting in “horrific and severe” injuries. But this was no accident in the true sense of the word, 19-year old Ty Cirillo’s Las Vegas injury attorney argued, because an accident means no one is to blame. The plaintiffs in this case contend that blame can be neatly apportioned to the company for “creating and instituting policies that endorse dangerous, illegal and reckless driving,” and “failing to reprimand or discipline employees for violating traffic laws.”
Testimony heard in Ty’s case included the driver of the delivery vehicle’s report that his fast driving is incentivized by the fact that “he earned bigger tips for quicker service, and he earned a small percentage of sales for each delivery.” The Las Vegas injury attorney representing Ty leaned heavily on the sense of urgency that Jimmy John’s creates with its ads and slogans: “Subs so fast you’ll freak,” and “You buy, we fly,” with reference to the television advertisement “in which a driver in an overturned vehicle uses OnStar to call for help and then order a sandwich. A Jimmy John’s driver immediately flashes into the scene: ‘Sorry I’m late. I got stuck behind an ambulance.’”
The case made by Ty’s Las Vegas injury attorney was good enough for Jimmy John’s to settle for an undisclosed amount of money (they’d originally sued for $50 million), but the suit itself is interesting in terms of its reflection of our cultural values and what we’re willing to risk for convenience. Whether or not delivery drivers for food service are creating hazardous roads, as Ty’s lawyer argued, is pretty debatable, as Las Vegas personal injury lawyers like Ian McMenemy could tell you. Jimmy John’s corporate and franchise structure of payment incentives isn’t that different from that of other food delivery services, both local and franchised.
Ty’s case is an interesting one—representing on some symbolic level the balance between urban convenience and safety. Is Jimmy John’s necessarily endangering a community by incentivizing risky driving? Ty and his lawyer made enough of a case so that Jimmy John’s paid out on it; but before you heard of it, did you ever think of anything ominous behind those slogans and advertisements? Probably not. My usual thought has been, “I’m hungry now. And Jimmy John’s says they’re freaky fast. I’ll call them.”