Going after Jimmy John’s 'cause that’s where the dough is

By The West Virginia Record | Feb 20, 2014

What does “freaky fast” mean?

Does it mean running red lights to deliver Jalapeno Jimmy Chips within 15 minutes to some snack-craving stoner?

Does it mean driving on sidewalks and through backyards to save a few seconds and preserve the freshness of a #15 (Giant Club Tuna)?

Does it mean speeding through a school zone crosswalk to get a gorger his Gargantuan in record time?

No, it doesn’t mean any of those things – and you won’t find a single Jimmy John’s employee, manager, or customer who thinks it does.

Quality, speed, and customer satisfaction are key components of the Jimmy John’s corporate culture. Death and mayhem are not.

You may, however, be able to find an aggrieved plaintiff or two who contends that Jimmy John’s promise of gourmet sub and club sandwiches made and delivered with astonishing promptness – i.e., “freaky fast” – somehow constitutes for their delivery drivers a license to kill.

That is, essentially, the argument of one Morgantown woman and her five Morgantown attorneys: Allan M. Karlin, Jane E. Peak, Sarah W. Montoro, and Harrison P. Case, all of Allan N. Karlin Associates; and Raymond H. Yackel. When Linda Lutman gets lawyered up, she goes full throttle.

Lutman has a grievance involving Jimmy John’s. Her 79-year-old father died last August after being struck by a car operated by a Jimmy John’s delivery driver.

She filed suit this month in Monongalia Circuit Court against the driver, but also against Jimmy John’s Franchise LLC, CDL Properties LLC, and Jimmy John’s Enterprises Inc.

Lutman and her five attorneys argue that the other parties are vicariously responsible for the death of her father because the “freaky fast” promise “created a foreseeable and unreasonable risk that Jimmy John’s drivers would injure and/or kill members of the public.”

It will be a slow, expensive slog of months, if not years, before some court finally decides just what “freaky” and “fast”means and who pays or doesn’t.

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