BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A new twist in the case of women secretly videotaped at a fitness center on Government Street downtown. A court ruling now opens the door for hundreds of additional women to now join in the legal action even if they were not videotaped.
Two years ago, police arrested then-trainer at Anytime Fitness, Terry Telschow, and charged him with video voyeurism. They say he admitted putting a hidden camera in the ladies restroom to videotape women as the undressed. A woman who found the camera alerted police who found images of her and at least four other females from the gym. That woman alerted police, and then filed suit against Telschow and the owners of Anytime Fitness.
Now, the Third Circuit Court of Appeal has ruled other women can join in that lawsuit as part of a class action. According to court records, anytime fitness has a list of 250 to 300 women who went into the gym while Telschow worked there, between November 2009 and April 2010. The court ruled any of those women can join in the suit even if they were not secretly videotaped. WAFB legal expert Julie Baxter, not affiliated with this case, explains why.
"We don't want a lot of different cases where women who might have been exposed to the same fear or the same damages would have different awards of money or different findings that are inconsistent with each other. And so that's one of the reasons that Louisiana law tends to favor class actions when you have one set of circumstances giving rise to injury to a number of people," said Baxter.
A law firm in Mamou is representing the women.
"Only, I think, a handful were actually identified by the police," said attorney Timmy Fontenot. "So, I think there are women who will never know what's going to happen. Again, I can't begin to imagine that feeling."
Lawyers for Anytime Fitness say they will fight opening the case up to class action status and plan to file an appeal with the state Supreme Court.