Planet Fitness Seeks To Dismiss Trans Locker Room Policy Lawsuit

By |2015-08-27T09:00:00-04:00August 27th, 2015|Michigan, News|

BY BTL STAFF

MIDLAND – Planet Fitness is asking for a dismissal of a lawsuit involving the company’s trans-friendly locker room policy, claiming it promotes discrimination against transgender people.
Yvette Cormier, a 48-year-old cis woman from Midland, is suing Planet Fitness for more than $25,000 following an incident that occurred Feb. 28, claiming an invasion of privacy, multiple violations of the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, breach of contract, intentional infliction of emotional distress, exemplary damages and a violation of the Michigan Consumer Protection Act.
Planet Fitness cancelled Cormier’s membership to the Midland Planet Fitness after she “warned” other gym members for several days after seeing a trans woman in the locker room.
The company’s “Judgement Free” policy is very clear. “Planet Fitness is committed to creating a non-intimidating, welcoming environment for our members,” read a statement released by the company in early March. “Our gender identity non-discrimination policy states that members and guests may use all gym facilities based on their sincere self-reported gender identity. The manner in which this member expressed her concerns about the policy exhibited behavior that management at the Midland club deemed inappropriate and disruptive to other members, which is a violation of the membership agreement and as a result her membership was cancelled.”
The complaint filed July 31 by Kallman Legal Group PLLC on behalf of Cormier states that the locker room policy “enabled and encouraged possible criminal activity, including potential indecent exposure, disturbing the peace and child abuse criminal actions.” There were also claims of endangerment to women and children.
“Noticeably absent from the complaint is any allegation that the transgender woman engaged in any inappropriate conduct, other than merely being present in the women’s locker room,” states the motion for dismissal filed on behalf of Planet Fitness.
The motion for dismissal filed by Pla-Fit Franchise, LLC argues there had been no alleged illegal behavior during the incident in February and that the lawsuit is not legally sufficient to continue.
“Throughout our nation’s history, the denial of access to restrooms has been used as a means to degrade and demean persons of color, to exclude women from traditional male jobs and to exclude persons with disabilities from access to public accommodation and employment,” reads the motion filed by Jaffe, Raitt, Heuer & Weiss, P.C. on behalf of PF Fitness-Midland LLC. “In this case, Plaintiff attempts to promote denial of restroom access as a way to discriminate against transgender people.”
Two motions have been filed for the defendants — Planet Fitness’ parent company and the Midland franchise — and claim that all four claims of Elliott-Larsen violations listed within the lawsuit and five other claims are invalid for many reasons. These reasons include a lack of any sexual or harassment activity and thus should be dismissed, including the calling for the reversal of the inclusive locker room policy.
A hearing in the case is scheduled for Sept. 25 and will be overheard by Midland County Circuit Court Judge Michael J. Beale.
Cormier will be represented by the Kallman Legal Group, PLLC. Attorneys for defendant PF Fitness-Midland LLC will be represented by Jaffe, Raitt, Heuer & Weiss, P.C. and the Kemp Klein Law Firm. Attorneys for defendant Pla-Fit Franchise, LLC will be represented by Arthur Pressman and Troy Lieberman of Nixon Peabody LLP.

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Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.