Jared Fogle's ex-wife has sued Subway, alleging the giant sandwich chain knew of its former spokesman's sexual interest in and activity with children and failed to act in a responsible manner.
The suit, filed Monday by Kathleen McLaughlin on behalf of herself and her two children, says "Subway's conduct was extreme and outrageous" and seeks unspecified damages.
Mr. Fogle was a shining star for Subway after shedding more than 200 pounds in part by eating sandwiches from the chain. His appearances for Subway, beginning in 2000, helped boost the chain's image as a choice for healthy meals and its sales increased over time before more recent stumbles.
In August 2015, Mr. Fogle was charged with possessing and distributing child pornography and paying for sex with minors. Three months later, he was sentenced to more than 15 years in prison.
According to the lawsuit, Subway received at least three reports about Mr. Fogle's sexual interest in and activity with children years before his arrest and did not thoroughly investigate the issues or alert authorities.
"As this is pending legal action, we cannot provide comment," Subway said Monday.
According to the lawsuit, a senior VP-marketing at Subway received a complaint as early as 2004 that Mr. Fogle "had approached a young girl at a promotional event for a Las Vegas Subway franchise for a sex act." The lawsuit claims that Subway sent a senior public relations manager "to ask Jared and the franchisee owner, rather than the victim, about the incident."
Another matter mentioned in the lawsuit refers to alleged comments made by Mr. Fogle to a female franchisee in 2008 being brushed off by Jeff Moody, who was then CEO of Subway Franchise Advertising Fund Trust, a separate entity that was responsible for the chain's advertising.
The lawsuit also describes how in 2011 a woman allegedly complained via Subway's website that she had serious concerns about Mr. Fogle being around children. According to the lawsuit, "Subway admitted that complaint was 'not properly escalated or acted upon.'"
In the summer of 2015, Subway at first suspended its relationship with Mr. Fogle and soon after terminated the relationship as the situation became public. Months earlier, in January 2015, Subway and Mr. Fogle had signed a two-year contract extension, according to the lawsuit.
The suit was brought by Kathleen "Katie" McLaughlin, who married Mr. Fogle in 2010 and divorced him in 2015. They have two children, ages 5 and 3.
The lawsuit states that when Subway began showing animated representations of Mr. Fogle's wife and children in advertising, it did so without their consent. According to the lawsuit, a commercial showing Mr. Fogle telling his story and showing the family in animated representations ran from March 2015 until July 7, 2015, the day the family's home was raided by the FBI.
"I filed this lawsuit because I have questions," Ms. McLaughlin said in a statement provided by her attorney. "Questions that someday my children will ask me and that I imagine the families of the 14 victims are asking. Questions to which I have no other way to get answers. Questions like 'What did Subway know and when did they know it? What investigations, if any, did they conduct? Did they ever notify the authorities?' I also filed this lawsuit because I am seeking damages from Subway."