A West Sacramento man has taken fast-food giant Subway to court, claiming its footlong sandwiches come up short.
Richard Springer's suit, filed Thursday in the Eastern District of California federal court in Sacramento, accuses Subway of fraud, false advertising, negligent misrepresentation, unjust enrichment and other violations under the statutes.
But its basic claim is simply this: Subway's signature footlong subs "are not one foot."
Attempts to get comment from Subway on Friday were unsuccessful.
The company previously has said that the term "footlong" is a registered trademark, not a literal measurement. It also said that footlong bread lengths can vary when not baked to Subway's specifications.
The locally filed suit is the latest legal action filed against Subway, which has been under fire for more than a week after an Australian man posted a picture on the company's Facebook page of one of its footlong sandwiches next to a tape measure showing it to be 11 inches in length.
The photo quickly drew more than 100,000 "likes," and Subway, touted as the world's largest fast-food chain with more nearly 39,000 locations worldwide, has faced a blizzard of criticism ever since.
According to the suit filed in Sacramento, Springer saw the evidence firsthand.
The suit says Springer, after seeing advertising on Subway's footlong subs, purchased one to eat on Jan. 16 at a Subway restaurant in Burlingame.
Problem was, Springer said the sandwich came up an about an inch short of 12 inches.
The suit claims that Springer "suffered an injury in fact and lost money as a result of the deceptive and unfair conduct" of Subway.
The suit names the defendant as Doctor's Associates Inc., the Milford, Conn.-based owner of the Subway chain. It asks for a jury trial and unspecified relief for Springer and "all others similarly situated."
Springer is being represented by the Beverly Hills law offices of Todd Friedman and Chicago-based attorney Michael Agruss.
Agruss said he was unable to get in contact with Springer on Friday, but the lawyer did issue this statement: "At first glance, some may read the complaint and think it's not important that the sandwiches are only 10 to 11 inches. However, if you crunch the numbers, Subway is shorting consumers about 10 percent of what they advertise.
"At $5 a sandwich, that equates to approximately 50 cents for every sandwich they sell. Considering Subway had over $11 billion in sales in 2011, we could be talking about hundreds of millions of dollars here."
Earlier this week, two New Jersey men sued Subway, also claiming that the chain has been shorting customers with less-than-footlong sandwiches. The plaintiffs' attorney in that suit, filed Tuesday in Superior Court in Mount Holly, N.J., asserts that footlong sandwiches measured in 17 Subway shops came up short.
Subway's "$5 footlong" sandwich specials have been central to the company's marketing efforts for the past five years.