Las Vegas—A corporate culture that emphasized “freaky fast” delivery by Jimmy John’s restaurant drivers led to the motorcycle accident that permanently disabled Ty Cirillo, according to Cirillo's attorney as trial opened Monday in Cirillo's suit against the restaurant. Ty Cirillo v. Larry Black, et al.
In October 2011, Ty Cirillo, then 19, was driving his motorcycle when he collided with a truck driven by Larry Black, a Jimmy John's delivery driver, as Black turned left at an intersection. The accident crushed Cirillo’s pelvis and fractured his back, among other injuries. Tirillo is suing Black, restaurant franchisee JRC Restaurants LLC, and franchisor Jimmy John’s Franchise LLC for $48 million, including $36 million for pain and suffering.
Eglet told jurors that Black, who was encouraged to deliver sandwiches as quickly as possible in accordance with the company’s “Freaky Fast” marketing slogan, made an unsafe turn, colliding with Cirillo. Eglet said that, although Jimmy John's touted speedy delivery, neither the franchisor nor the franchisee had established the five-minute delivery area guideline that corporate executives claimed was a standard safety rule. Instead, the franchisor promoted a "corporate culture of speed and urgency at the expense of safety," Eglet said.
However, J. Bruce Alverson, representing the Jimmy John’s franchisor, told jurors that Cirillo’s driving, rather than Black’s, caused the accident. Alverson said that Cirillo had been travelling between 45 and 49 miles per hour at the time of the accident, well above the 35-mph speed limit in the area, and that Cirillo was weaving between lanes just before the collision occurred.
“We know he was exceeding the speed limit by a third, we know he was weaving back and forth in these lanes, and we know that he made a poor choice,” Alverson told jurors. “If there's anyone who was 'freaky fast' on that roadway that morning, it was the plaintiff. It wasn't Larry Black.”
Rick Tomich, a driver who Cirillo passed just before the accident, is expected to be a key witness at trial. In openings, Eglet argued that Cirillo was avoiding potential road hazards when he passed close to Tomich's car. However, Alverson told jurors that Cirillo’s close pass of Tomich was merely part of a reckless pattern of driving that led to the accident. “(Cirillo) comes by Mr. Tomich so close that Mr. Tomich could've reached out and touched him,” Alverson said. “It'll be up to you to decide if he was driving that close in order to avoid something on the road, or if he was a 19-year-old kid just showboating.”