Planet Fitness, Newington, New Hampshire, and a Planet Fitness franchisee in Michigan are seeking the dismissal of a suit filed by a former member related to the company's policy on transgender locker room access.
The two motions were filed July 31 in Midland County Circuit Court by parent company Pla-Fit Franchise LLC and franchisee PF Fitness–Midland LLC.
The amended suit filed in April by the former member, Yvette Cormier, seeks damages in excess of $25,000 on eight counts after the Midland Planet Fitness club revoked her membership in March.
Cormier claims she was in the Planet Fitness Midland locker room on Feb. 28 when a person she thought was a man entered the women's locker room. She reported the person, identified as Carlotta Sklodowska in the Pla-Fit motion, to the front desk and was told Sklodowska was transgender and could choose the locker room she self-identified with.
Cormier allegedly returned to the club at least three times after the encounter and used the locker room without incident, according to the motion filed by Pla-Fit. Cormier allegedly warned other members repeatedly about the "no judgment policy," which led to the termination of her membership.
Planet Fitness Public Relations Director McCall Gosselin previously told Club Industry the company's 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 canceled," Gosselin said.
Lawyers for Pla-Fit argue that while Cormier is entitled to her opinions, her preferences are not before the court any more than Sklodowska's preferences are.
"Here, Planet Fitness enacted an inclusive policy that recognizes the extraordinary difficulties that transgender individuals face with regard to public restroom and locker room usage," lawyers argue in the motion filed by Pla-Fit. "From her complaint, it appears that Mrs. Cormier disagrees with that policy."
The motion filed by PF Midland counters the basis of the suit itself, claiming both Pla-Fit and PF Midland should have devised, implemented and enforced discriminatory policies and practices.
"Despite Defendant's entirely reasonable, lawful and non-discriminatory policies and practices, Plaintiff's Complaint constitutes nothing more than a desperate, but futile, attempt to manufacture some sort of legal claim," lawyers argue in the motion filed by PF Midland.
Both motions seek to dismiss all counts for failure to state a claim on which relief can be granted.
Dave Kallman of Kallman Legal Group is representing Cormier. His office is preparing an answer to the motions, according to a MLive.com report.
"The defendants normally file these types of motions to try and get these cases dismissed," Kallman told MLive.com. "They don't deny what happened, essentially.
"They feel they acted appropriately. We disagree."
Kallman Legal Group contends Cormier was wrongfully denied the benefits of her Planet Fitness contract and wrongfully denied use of the public accommodations at the gym because she objected to Planet Fitness' "unknown policy," according to a press release posted on Kallman Legal Group's website.