Kanawha County woman says she was watched while in tanning bed

By Chris Dickerson | Dec 28, 2005

The South Charleston Community Center houses a 25-meter indoor swimming pool, two racquetball courts, basketball courts, tanning beds, a fully-equipped health club and a gymnasium that seats 1,500 people.

CHARLESTON – A Kanawha County woman says her privacy was violated by someone watching her while she used a tanning bed at the South Charleston Community Center.

In a lawsuit filed Dec. 15 in Kanawha Circuit Court, Claire Lynon says she has frequented the South Charleston Community Center for four or five years, and uses the tanning beds there about once a week. She claims she normally is told to use one particular tanning bed.

On Sept. 25, 2005, Lynon says she was lying in the tanning bed when she decided to check the time on her cell phone. As she looked at her phone, she says she could see into the heating and cooling vent in the wall directly across from the tanning bed at floor level. She says she saw that a mirror had been placed inside the vent, tilted in such a way that her reflection would be visible as she was lying in the tanning bed.

After Lynon dressed and reported the incident to employees of the community center, the suit says it was discovered that on the opposite side of the vent with the mirror was a room that required a key to enter.

"By looking into the vent in that room, a person could see directly into the tanning bed room and the mirror was positioned to permit the person looking to see the person lying in the tanning bed," the suit claims.

The incident was reported to the South Charleston Police Department, which investigated. But the suit says no arrests have been made.

In the suit, filed by Charleston attorney Lonnie C. Simmons, the City of South Charleston is listed as the defendant because it owns and operates the community center.

"Defendant is vicariously liable for the acts of its agents and employees committed within the scope of their employment," the suit says.

Lynon says she was a victim of invasion of privacy and that her constitutional rights as a West Virginia and United States citizens were violated.

Because of that, she says she is entitled to damages caused by invasion of privacy, including mental pain and suffering, humiliation, embarrassment and annoyance and inconvenience.

"The conduct of Defendant was reprehensible, fraudulent, wilful and wanton, malicious, and in blatant and intentional disregard of the rights owed to the plaintiff," the suit claims.

Lynon seeks damages to compensate her for injuries she suffered and will continue to suffer as a result of this invasion of privacy. She also seeks punitive damages to be determined by a jury as well as other relief.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Tod Kaufman.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 05-C-2721

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