A Michigan woman filed a lawsuit against her former manager at Dollar General over allegations that he placed a recording device in the store’s unisex restroom. She is also suing the management company that owns and operates the location in question.
The Jane Doe plaintiff alleges her former boss Cody Crouch “installed one or more hidden cameras” in the bathroom of the store owned by Dolgencorp “which were capable of filming” employees and customers using the bathroom “obviously without their knowledge of the cameras or their consent to be filmed and/or published,” according to the original petition obtained by Law&Crime.
On April 29, 2022, the plaintiff, a Dollar General vendor, says she noticed a hole in a ceiling tile while she was using the bathroom.
“She looked up and there was something sparkling up there and she investigated and saw that it was a camera,” her attorney Tom Waun, of Ven Johnson Law, told Bay City, Mich. CBS affiliate WNEM. “Actually, it was a cell phone that was recording her in the bathroom.”
“As the store manager, Crouch was able to install a hidden camera system and record people utilizing a public restroom,” Waun said in a statement provided to Law&Crime. “This disgusting behavior is an absolute invasion of privacy for all employees, customers and vendors who deserve and expect a safe, private space.”
According to the complaint, the plaintiff told her boss about what she had found, who then “began destroying the video recording device.”
The woman had already called the police and when they arrived, Crouch was arrested and charged with using a computer to commit a crime, capturing and distributing images of an unclothed person, tampering with evidence, and surveilling an unclothed person.
Crouch and Dolgencorp are being sued for invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and a violation of a state public accommodation statute that protects against sexual harassment. The plaintiff is suing Dolgencorp for premises liability and/or negligence, and negligent hiring, retention, training, and supervision.
The lawsuit says Dolgencorp had a duty to “inspect the premises” for “structural changes to the unisex bathroom” and that “Peeping Toms” were a foreseeable possibility of the bathroom being misused. Additionally, the filing says that Dolgencorp knew or should have known that Crouch “had the propensities to be sexually inappropriate with women” and that he had “engaged in sexually deviant behavior toward women and/or men.” Ultimately, Dolgencorp breached their duty by failing “to properly supervise and/or train Crouch to execute his duties,” and failed “to take action to prevent Crouch from surreptitiously video recording women and/or men, including Jane Doe, after discovering Crouch’s sexually deviant propensities.”
The Doe plaintiff’s lawsuit is seeking damages in excess of $25,000 including punitive damages, mental anguish damages, medical care and treatment damages, exemplary damages, and attorney’s fees.
The law firm is currently encouraging other employees, customers, and vendors who visited the Caro, Mich. Dollar General and used the restroom between April 2021 and April 2022, the period when Crouch was employed there, to contact them to learn if they were also recorded.
Law&Crime reached out to Dollar General for comment on this story but no substantive response was immediately forthcoming at the time of publication.
The full complaint is available below:
[image via screengrab/WNEM]
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