Judge Orders Subway to Pay Big Bucks in Chicken Lawsuit

But it's unclear whether the chain did anything wrong
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 1, 2020 1:00 PM CST
Subway Owes $500K in Weird Chicken Lawsuit
This file photo shows a chicken breast sandwich from a Subway restaurant in New York.   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

A CBC report on Subway's chicken sandwiches is going to cost the chain fairly big bucks—regardless of the report's accuracy, the CBC reports. A judge has ordered Subway to reimburse the CBC $500,000 in legal costs after the chain tried to sue over the eye-grabbing 2017 story. The report claimed that chicken in Subway sandwiches contained "only about half chicken DNA," and "the majority of the remaining DNA? Soy." Subway denied the report and sued for $210 million, but the CBC got Ontario Superior Court Justice Ed Morgan to dismiss the claim under what's called anti-SLAPP legislation, which guards free speech in matters of public interest. The chain fought the dismissal notion and lost in a lengthy court battle.

Subway focused on "the issue of truth in the news magazine item that was the subject of the suit—an issue which goes to the heart of the merits of Subway's defamation claim, but is only relevant in a minor way to the SLAPP criteria," Morgan said. Meanwhile, Subway says the CBC aired the story "recklessly and maliciously" and "caused significant harm" to franchise owners, Fox News reported last year. The chain also criticized the chicken DNA analysis at Trent University in Canada and said two independent studies found its chicken contained "100 percent chicken breast with added seasoning." Morgan has told Trent University to pay Subway $220,000 in costs. As for the CBC, it stands by the story and says it's "happy with this decision." (More Subway stories.)

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