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Tuesday, May 28, 2024 | Back issues
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Sub Shop Must Answer for Fast Delivery Offer

(CN) - Advertising "freaky fast," 15-minute delivery time could leave the Jimmy John's sub shops chain liable for a car accident, an Illinois appeals court ruled.

Robert Reynolds claimed that he suffered a permanent partial disability after getting into a 2010 crash with Jimmy John's driver Jake Sawyer in Springfield, Ill.

Reynolds testified that he was riding his Harley Davidson motorcycle when Sawyer failed to yield to traffic and turned left out of a parking lot, colliding into him.

In his complaint against Jimmy John's and JThree Inc., the franchisee that employed Sawyer, Reynolds brought up the chain's "freaky fast" policy and claimed that Sawyer was not trained on how to make such fast deliveries safely.

A Sangamon County judge dismissed the amended complaint in January 2012, but the 4th District Appellate Court revived most of Reynolds' claims earlier this month.

Reynolds can pursue both Jimmy John's and JThree for negligent training and supervision, according to the ruling.

"Plaintiff pleaded sufficient facts, taken as true, to raise a question under Illinois negligence principles whether JThree engaged in a course of action creating a foreseeable risk of injury to members of the public, thereby creating a duty to ameliorate that risk by training its employees that the rules of the road trump its 15-minute policy and must always be adhered to, even while trying to accomplish deliveries within the 15-minute window," Justice James Knecht wrote for a three-member panel.

The Springfield-based court had no patience for the single-sentence motion Jimmy John's had submitted with an affidavit from its CFO, Jeff Vaughn, and deposition testimony from Sawyer.

"Jimmy John's inclusion of an affidavit and deposition testimony in support of its 'motion' is a red flag the 'motion' merely contests plaintiff's factual allegations and is not in compliance with section 2-619 of the Code" of Civil Procedure, Knecht wrote.

"This is not a case where the agency relationship between Jimmy John's and Sawyer is so clear as to be undisputed," he added. "The question of Jimmy John's control over Sawyer is a question appropriately resolved either at trial or in a fact-based motion."

Justice John Turner dissented from his colleagues.

"Plaintiff simply cannot prove the existence of a 15-minute policy or that Sawyer, due to a perceived 15-minute company policy, was attempting a 'freaky fast' delivery when the accident occurred," Turner wrote.

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