A years-long battle by a woman against Planet Fitness after her membership was terminated for exposing a secret policy allowing men into women’s locker rooms is heading back to district court with instructions to consider her consumer-fraud claims.
The ruling comes from the Michigan Court of Appeals after the state’s Supreme Court directed the actions.
The case was brought by Kallman Legal on behalf of Yvette Cormier against Planet Fitness after it canceled her membership.
She had found a man in the women’s locker room and complained to managers. It was only then that she learned of a secret policy allowing men who “identify” as women to access the women’s facilities.
The judges instructed the district court to review the woman’s claims under the Michigan Consumer Protection Act and decide according to what the state Supreme Court had determined.
It’s just one of a number of conflicts created by Planet Fitness’ “judgment-free zone” slogan.
“The transaction at issue is plaintiff’s agreement to join the gym. The allegations in plaintiff’s complaint indicate that defendants made a representation of fact in a positive manner when they informed her that the gym had separate locker rooms and restoroms for men and women. And, according to the complaint, when plaintiff joined the gym, defendants failed to reveal the fact that they had an unwritten policy whereby an individual may use whichvever locker room or restroom corresponds with the gender with which that individual self-identifies,” the court ruling said.
“Therefore, plaintiff’s allegations indicate that defendants failed to reveal facts (i.e., the existence of the unwritten policy) and that representations of fact were made in a positive manner (i.e., that there were separate locker rooms and restrooms for men and women).
“The question becomes, then, whether the fact the defendants failed to reveal, i.e., the existence of the unwritten self-identification policy, was material to the transaction.”
Appeals court judges Colleen O’Brien, Deborah Servitto and Cynthia Stephens said the use of the facilities “is also part of the transaction given that gym members obviously may wish to change clothes or shower in a locker room in connection with their fitness activities, and restrooms are also needed.”
Cormier’s complaint of a “biologically male” person in the women’s room makes it “reasonable to infer that defendants’ failure to inform plaintiff of the unwritten policy affected her decision to join the gym.”
The judges remanded the case “for proceedings not inconsistent with this opinion.”
WND reported this week the company’s “judgment-free zone” slogan was cited by a member of a Plaistow, New Hampshire, Planet Fitness who stripped naked and began doing exercises.
Police reported Eric Stagno, 34, of Haverhill, Massachusetts, told them “he thought he was in a ‘Judgement (sic) Free Zone.”
He was arrested on counts of indecent exposure, lewdness and disorderly conduct.
Another case was in the Leesburg, Florida, Planet Fitness, which terminated the membership of a “Mrs. H” because she complained about a man in the women’s changing room.
Liberty Counsel pointed out in a letter to Planet Fitness it was not the only complaint against the man, Jordan Rice. Another woman claimed “he exposed his naked body to her in the woman’s locker room at this location.” In another instance, he argued with a woman over use of the tanning room.
When Mrs. H. encountered Rice in the locker room and asked him to leave, he “smirked back at her, and continued to stare at her, remaining standing in front of the mirror ‘applying makeup,’ where he had a full view of every single woman entering or exiting the shower area.”
Rice later transferred his membership to another Planet Fitness, Liberty Counsel said, but Mrs. H was deprived of her right to use the facilities and was sent a cancellation notice.
Planet Fitness did not respond to WND requests for comment.
Liberty Counsel said Rice, “incredibly,” called police “to falsely report that he had been ‘sexually harassed’ by Mrs. H.”
“He can be heard on his 911 call, following Mrs. H across the parking lot of the establishment, over into the next parking lot, calmly relaying to the dispatcher his and Mrs. H.’s appearances, a description of Mrs. H.’s vehicle, and the direction in which she was headed.”
No police report was filed.
Liberty Counsel also has alleged Planet Fitness “is committing consumer fraud by failing to disclose, and failing to render in writing, policies permitting access of opposite-sex individuals to places where women have a reasonable expectation of privacy.”