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Woman Files Suit Charging Workers Were Peeping Toms

July 10, 1994|SCOTT COLLINS | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

A woman has filed suit claiming that workers at a Hollywood restaurant spied on her as she used a public toilet.

According to the suit in Los Angeles County Superior Court, Sharare Shams suffered an "objectionable and offensive" invasion of privacy on April 10 when workers at Johnny Rockets, 7507 Melrose Ave., peeped at her through holes in the lavatory door.

The suit seeks unspecified damages.

Jeff Arnold, chief financial officer of the Los Angeles-based Rockets chain, said the incident apparently began when a busboy dropped a towel by the washroom door and knelt to pick it up. Shams' boyfriend noticed the worker crouching by the door, became angry and "made a scene" at the restaurant, Arnold said.

The manager was out of town when the incident occurred, but a subsequent inquiry determined that the busboy may have been trying to peer through a recently repaired crack in the door, Arnold said. The busboy was sent home early that day and has not reported for work since, he added. Shams' suit claims that more than one worker spied on her.

"We are in the process of working with our liability insurance carrier to resolve this," Arnold said.

Other restaurants and hotels have faced similar suits in recent years. In May, a Los Angeles County woman sued Jack in the Box after someone allegedly spied on her as she used the washroom in a Norco restaurant. Holiday Inn in 1992 inspected all of its 1,700 hotels after guests in Tennessee and South Carolina found peepholes and sued.

"We're afraid somebody else will try to copy this (suit)," Arnold said. "After it happened, the manager warned the workers that anybody who even went near the restrooms would be fired."

Attempts to reach Shams were unsuccessful, and her attorney, Doug Mastroianni, was not immediately available for comment.

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