The family of a recently killed pedestrian has filed a lawsuit against Jimmy John’s Franchise, LLC, claiming that the national sandwich shop chain’s motto, “Freaky Fast Delivery,” was the reason behind their loved one’s death.
J. Robert McClain was walking his dog in Morgantown on August 2013 when he was struck and killed by a Jimmy John’s delivery car. The car was being driven by the assistant manager of the Morgantown Jimmy John’s branch. McClain’s family claims that he was speeding, and so preoccupied with checking his clock that he failed to look for pedestrians. The family attributes his careless driving to an “environment” instilled by the employer: when drivers are encouraged to deliver “freaky fast,” serious injury will happen.
McClain’s family argues that because the “freaky fast” delivery was among policies developed, taught, encouraged, and promoted by the Jimmy John’s franchises, the increased risk of injury to the public was foreseeable and preventable. The employer allegedly had actual knowledge that its policies could and did endanger public safety. Yet despite this, the employer allegedly continued to teach, encourage, promote, mandate, and condone the Jimmy John’s “freaky fast delivery” policy to its employees.
In addition to suing Jimmy John’s Franchise, LLC, the family is also suing the assistant manager, claiming that he acted negligently when he struck and killed McClain, and that his employer was vicariously responsible. They state that as a result of the assistant manager’s actions, McClain’s family was deprived of his companionship. McClaim’s wife had some medical problems and was especially dependent upon him.
This was not the first time Jimmy John’s Franchise, LLC had been sued for accidents that involved their delivery drivers. In 2011, an Illinois man sued after a delivery driver allegedly struck him while he was on his motorcycle. While that case was initially dismissed, an appeals court recently permitted the case to go ahead. Nor is Jimmy John’s the first company to become embroiled in controversy over its driver policies: in 1993, a woman sued Dominoes pizza after getting in an accident with one of their drivers, claiming their guaranteed 30-minute delivery policy encouraged bad driving. Though the case settled, Dominoes ceased to guarantee a 30-minute delivery.
McClain’s family seeks damages for mental anguish, loss of society and companionship, loss of comfort and guidance, loss of income, and loss of household services, among other things. They also seek punitive damages due to the defendants’ conduct, which they claim was willful, wanton, and/or undertaken in a willful disregard for safety of both their loved one and the general public. At this time, there have been no comments from Jimmy John’s Franchise, LLC, so it is unknown what the company will argue in its defense.
The Wolfe Law Firm has been providing legal services for nearly 25 years. Located in Elkins, West Virginia, the firm provides services in the areas of personal injury, criminal defense, bankruptcy, and mediation. If you are looking for an experienced West Virginia wrongful death attorney, contact us today.