A motion put forth by mega-corporation Subway to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the ex-wife of Jared Fogle–the former Subway marketing front man turned national pariah–that states the company was negligent in dealing with reports that Fogle was engaged in inappropriate activities with underage girls, will be heard in Indiana court on Tuesday.
Fogle’s ex-wife, Kathleen “Katie” McLaughlin also claims in the lawsuit, filed in October in Hamilton County, Ind., that Subway did not have permission to use her likeness, or those of the couple’s two children, in a marketing campaign that painted Fogle as a family man.
That “family man” image was soon a distant memory after federal authorities raided his home in Zionsville, Ind., on July 7, 2015, in an investigation that led to Fogle’s convictions on federal charges of possession or distribution of child pornography and traveling across state lines to have commercial sex with a minor.
Fogle is now serving a 15-year sentence in federal prison. He quickly became the focal point of Subway’s marketing campaign in his younger days after losing 200 pounds as a college student eating a Subway-heavy diet.
McLaughlin, who was married to Fogle from 2010-2015, is seeking unspecified monetary damages from Doctor’s Associates Inc., doing business as Subway; Franchise World Headquarters LLC.; and Subway Franchisee Advertising Fund Trust. Their children are referenced in the lawsuit only by their initials.
Subway successfully requested a change of venue from Hamilton to Boone County in March.
The sandwich company is arguing that Indiana courts do not have jurisdiction because the allegations did not arise from “conduct within or directed into Indiana.” It was filed in December by Subway and the other defendants.
McLaughlin, on the other hand, is abhorrent that Subway essentially attempted to cover-up Fogle’s conduct for many years. She states that until the 2015 raid, she had no idea of her husband’s inappropriate sexual conduct. The brief filed in opposition to Subway’s motion for dismissal states Subway and its associates “after hearing allegations of Jared Fogle’s sexual interest in children and alleged sexual acts with children, chose not to investigate.”
Subway reportedly had gotten word of Fogle’s aberrant sexual tendencies as early as 2004, but instead allowed the situation to play out, hoping his marriage to the to the former school teacher would help “ground” Fogle, the legal brief claims. “Defendants did not inform Ms. McLaughlin of their intentions for her, and in a cruel irony, depicted Ms. McLaughlin and her children in a Subway commercial promoting Jared as, of all things, a ‘family man.'”
McLaughlin says had she known, she never would’ve married Fogle.
The lawsuit specifies that Subway was notified that Fogle had a sexual interest in children and had exploited them on at least three separate occasions but failed to act, and instead pushed forward with an advertising campaign that would bring the company even more profits.
“Subway’s ambition for sales and growth,” the suit alleges, came at the expense of his wife and children.
The suit points to an incident in 2004 when Subway’s senior vice president of marketing was told that Fogle approached a young girl for a sex act at a Subway event in Las Vegas. Rather than report that information to authorities the company sent a public relations manager to ask Fogle and a franchisee about the incident. Subway did not contact the girl and did nothing more, the suit alleges.
Then in 2008, Cindy Mills, a franchise owner in Florida, told former Subway CEO Jeff Moody that she had a disturbing conversation with Fogle in which he told her he had sex with minors and liked them young. Then again, in 2011, a Florida journalist made a complaint through the company’s website, reporting again that Fogle told her he was interested in children.
Mills reported that Moody told her: “Please don’t tell me any more. Don’t worry, he has met someone. She is a teacher and he seems to love her very much, and we think she will keep him grounded.”
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