A court will review a Michigan health club’s policy – unwritten and largely withheld from consumers – to allow men into women’s restrooms and locker rooms under a “judgment-free zone.”
WND reported early in 2016 Yvette Cormier alleged Planet Fitness breached her club-use contract and violated the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act when it created a policy for its health club that allows a “judgment-free zone” in which a person can use a gender-specific facility according to his or her “gender identity.”
After Cormier encountered a man in the facilities and complained to the company without results, she was left without options and went to the facility to warn other women about the fact a man had been found in the women’s locker room.
The club terminated her membership, and she went to court.
Now, the Michigan Supreme Court has reversed a ruling from the state’s Court of Appeals regarding the Michigan Consumer Protection Act.
“The [lower] court erred in declining to consider the plaintiff’s MCPA claims,” the high court ruling said. “We remand this case to that court for consideration of the trial court’s grant of summary disposition on those claims.”
Kallman Legal, which has pursued the case on her behalf, said the original lawsuit by Cormier had been dismissed by Midland County Circuit Judge Michael Beale in 2016. The ruling was subsequently affirmed by the Court of Appeals.
However, the club’s policy, which “permits biologically intact men to have unfettered use of the women’s locker rooms, including showers, lockers, and all other aspects of the locker room, even if children are present, wasn’t properly addressed.”
“Ms. Cormier’s Consumer Protection Act claims include that Planet Fitness represented to her that there were separate locker room, showers, and restroom facilities for man and women when, in fact, there were not,” the legal team explained.
“No language in the contract, nor any notices at the gym, alerted Ms. Cormier to its unwritten policy that defendants allow men who self-identify as women to use the women’s locker room, showers and restrooms,” the lawyers wrote.
“These representations and lack of notice were a material fact relied upon by Ms. Cormier in deciding to enter into the contract with Planet Fitness. The failure to reveal these material facts to Ms. Cormier were misleading and deceived her.”
David Kallman, Cormier’s lawyer, said the Supreme Court’s ruling could ultimately lead to Cormier having her day in court.
“She would like to see if a jury agrees that Planet Fitness can allow men to enter and use the women’s locker room, showers and bathrooms without notice to women of such a policy and without regard for the rights of women and children using those facilities,” he said.
The case has made several appearances at the appeals court level since the original judge refused to allow it to move forward.
That judge claimed the woman was told of the company’s judgment-free zone, but the court records show that nowhere was she told that meant nude men in the showers with her.
A brief filed by Cormier’s lawyers stated: “There was subterfuge in this case. Mrs. Cormier is at a loss as to how she could have possibly known about defendants’ hidden, unwritten policy after being told of the magic words ‘judgment-free zone.’ Despite the membership agreement being completely void of any language describing a ‘no judgment policy,’ let alone that such a policy would include the idea that men can use the women’s locker rooms and showers, the trial court held that Mrs. Cormier should have known better.”