A class-action lawsuit has been filed against Planet Fitness, Newington, NH, after a member was arrested and charged with videotaping other members without their consent in the club's tanning room.
The lawsuit was filed last Wednesday in Rock Island (IL) County Circuit Court on behalf of Mary Barnhill and others against Pla-Fit Franchise LLC and MBM Fitness Management LLC, the Illinois-based franchisee of the Planet Fitness in Moline, IL, according to the Quad City Times.
A spokesperson for Planet Fitness told Club Industry that as a matter of policy, the company does not comment on pending litigation.
On Nov. 7, Planet Fitness member Trent Hamer was arrested and charged with felony unauthorized videotaping, multiple media outlets reported. A Planet Fitness employee found a camera in the tanning room on Nov. 5, and a second camera was found at the club the next day, TV station WQAD reported. Police found more evidence in Hamer's home in Moline.
Planet Fitness said Hamer's membership was terminated.
"At Planet Fitness, the safety and privacy of our members is extremely important to us," the company spokesperson said last week. "As such, the franchise owner is working very closely with the local authorities on this matter, and we appreciate their swift action in this case."
Thomas Zimmerman Jr., the Chicago-based attorney representing Barnhill in the lawsuit, is charging Planet Fitness and the franchisee with negligence. From the Quad City Times:
According to the suit, the companies "had a duty to exercise ordinary care to protect their members' privacy and security during their use of the tanning rooms at the Planet Fitness gym and timely notify their members of a security breach of their privacy and security that occurred during their use of the tanning rooms at the Planet Fitness gym."
The lawsuit claims Planet Fitness did not notify members that a camera had been found until two days later.
Police have contacted and identified all the members affected in this case, including Barnhill, according to the newspaper.
Hamer posted the required 10 percent of his $25,000 bond last Wednesday and was released, the newspaper reported.
Prosecutors announced two more felony counts had been filed Tuesday against Hamer, who now faces up to three years in prison for each count. Hamer waived his right to a preliminary hearing in a court appearance Tuesday, QCOnline.com reported.