Heather Isringhausen Gvillo Dec. 11, 2013, 12:38pm

A popular Fairview Heights clothing store seeks to remove a class action lawsuit alleging it videotaped women in the dressing room without their knowledge.

Defendant Body Central filed a notice of removal on Dec. 2 through attorney Susan Bassford Wilson of Constangy, Brooks & Smith in St. Louis claiming removal requirements have been met.

It argues that removal is appropriate due to diversity of citizenship. The plaintiffs are citizens of Illinois and seek to represent an Illinois-only class. Body Central is a citizen of Florida.

It also claims the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000. The plaintiffs do not specify the amount of monetary relief they seek, but relief is sought for the plaintiffs and every member of the putative class.

“None of the plaintiffs have alleged or stipulated that they are seeking less than $75,000,” the notice states. “Without addressing, or admitting to, the merits of plaintiffs’ claims and without waiving any rights or defenses to which Body Central may be entitled, even individually the plaintiffs recovery could easily exceed the jurisdictional limits.”

Body Central says removal is proper according to the Class Action Fairness Act, claiming the class could be as large as 62,988 people.

The class is described as “all customers, visitors and/or business invitees of the Body Central store located at 134 St. Clair Avenue, Fairview Heights State of Illinois, who have used the changing rooms in the store from 2008 to the present.”

According to the complaint filed Sept. 3, plaintiffs Trania Pawnell, Kimberly Stacker and Jamie Manske say the store video recorded them and other women in the changing rooms.

Because the women claim they did not give consent to be videotaped, Body Central’s actions were unauthorized and illegal, the suit states.

“As a direct and proximate result of defendant’s intrusion upon the privacy of the individual plaintiffs while each was in a changing room, plaintiffs have suffered embarrassment, mental anguish and emotional distress,” the complaint states.

David I. Cates and Ryan J. Mahoney of Cates Mahoney LLC in Swansea represent the plaintiffs.  

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 13-L-451

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