Jimmy John’s settles in ‘freaky fast’ lawsuit

Freaky fast can be freaky costly.

Jimmy John’s credo of speedy delivery might have cost the company millions of dollars in a Las Vegas lawsuit.

The franchise with about 11 valley locations reached a settlement Monday with a motorcyclist who suffered severe injuries after colliding with a Jimmy John’s delivery vehicle.

Ty Cirillo, who was 19 at the time of the 2011 crash, sued the franchise for “creating and instituting policies that endorse dangerous, illegal and reckless driving” and “failing to reprimand or discipline employees for violating traffic laws.”

Because of his injuries from the wreck, Cirillo probably will never walk or work again, his lawyer Robert Eglet said.

“Yeah, you could be freaky fast delivery, but you’re going to endanger the public if you do that,” Eglet said. “Here we have a 19-year-old kid whose life has been destroyed by them trying to rush a sandwich to someone’s house.”

Eglet wouldn’t disclose the figure of the settlement. But in opening statements at trial, Eglet said he would ask a Clark County jury for $50 million in damages. The settlement, which came after the third week of trial, appeared to be multiple millions of dollars.

Cirillo was headed east on Oakey Boulevard on his way to work as a linen attendant at Aria in October 2011 when a Jimmy John’s delivery driver in a Chevy Blazer turned left onto Ivanhoe Way and cut him off. Cirillo suffered multiple “horrific and severe” injuries after his Harley-Davidson Sportster slammed into the right rear side of the SUV, according to his lawyer.

Cirillo’s pelvis was “ripped open,” and he suffered “multiple broken limbs,” Eglet said. Cirillo since has had both hips replaced and must use a wheelchair.

“The amount of the settlement will take care of his harms and losses for the rest of his life,” Eglet said.

Along with the driver, Larry Black, Cirillo sued the Las Vegas franchise and the Champaign, Ill.-based corporation.

Black testified that he earned bigger tips for quicker service, and he earned a small percentage of sales for each delivery. By 9:30 a.m. on the day of the crash, Black was already on at least his second delivery. A witness said Black froze in the intersection after seeing the motorcycle headed toward him, according to Eglet.

“I made that turn thousands of times,” Black told the jury. “And this is my first accident.”

The company that makes “gourmet sandwiches” relies heavily on advertising speedy delivery with slogans such as “Freaky Fast. Freaky Good,” “Subs so fast you’ll freak,” and “You buy. We fly.” They also run the Freaky Fast Blog at freakyfast.com.

During trial, Eglet played Jimmy John’s commercials, including one 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.”

Eglet said he hoped the settlement would prompt the sandwich company to rethink its “corporate culture of speed and urgency.”

“Unfortunately that translates into their delivery drivers rushing and taking chances they shouldn’t take,” Eglet said. “It’s unsafe for the community. They’re hurting people.”

Lawyers for Jimmy John’s could not be reached for comment.

Contact reporter David Ferrara at dferrara@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039. Find him on Twitter: @randompoker.

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