Suit filed over exposure incident Woman seeking $12 million

September 21, 1993|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Staff Writer

A woman has filed a $12 million civil suit against a Clarksville hardware store over an incident in which the owner's son indecently exposed himself to her.

Lori Marie Boender of West Friendship is seeking the damages in a suit she filed in Howard Circuit Court against R. A. Zimmerman & Sons Inc. and Gary Roy Zimmerman, son of the store's owner, Roy A. Zimmerman.

Gary Zimmerman, 25, of Burtonsville, is to be sentenced on Nov. 10 following his conviction in Howard District Court on a charge of indecent exposure for the incident involving Ms. Boender.

He faces a maximum sentence of three years in prison and $1,000 in fines. According to court records, he is on probation for a fourth-degree sexual offense stemming from a February 1992 incident in Montgomery County.

Ms. Boender of the 12500 block of Route 144 also lists the store's parent company, Zimmerman's Clarksville Limited Partnership of Burtonsville, as a defendant in the lawsuit, which was filed Sept. 2.

The partnership operates Zimmerman's Home Center in the 12200 block of Route 108, where Ms. Boender was a cashier at the time of the Nov. 13, 1992, incident.

Her suit contends that the incident has caused her to suffer from severe emotional distress that required her to seek counseling.

Ms. Boender, now 18, quit her job immediately after the incident, said her attorney, Gary Peklo of Ellicott City.

"She did not go back there after the incident," Mr. Peklo said. "The experience was extremely distressful for her. She wished it never happened."

Mr. Peklo said his client did not want to be interviewed.

Roy Zimmerman could not be reached for comment. Gary Zimmerman referred questions to his attorney, Susan Davis of Columbia.

Ms. Davis read a prepared statement, asking The Sun not to print a story containing "mere allegations" so as not to harm the Zimmerman business, which has operated for about 20 years.

"We strongly believe that the allegations have no merit," Ms. Davis said.

Ms. Davis said her client may appeal the conviction. She declined to further discuss the criminal case.

Ms. Boender claims that Gary Zimmerman, her supervisor at the store, called her into an isolated part of the business where he exposed himself to her and made "lewd, obscene, extreme and outrageous" statements to her, the suit says.

The woman contends in the suit that Mr. Zimmerman's actions put her in fear of being harmed by him.

The suit also says company officials knew or should have known that Mr. Zimmerman had a history of misconduct and needed close supervision when he was around women.

In addition, the suit says, the company, by not warning them about Mr. Zimmerman's behavior, violated the right of Ms. Boender and other female employees to work in a safe environment.

The company's "failure to warn and/or failure to take appropriate action to supervise Mr. Zimmerman . . . was so reckless, wanton or willful as to be tantamount to an intentional disregard of the plaintiff's rights," the suit says.

Ms. Boender requested a jury trial for her suit. The case has been assigned to Judge Dennis Sweeney, but no proceedings have been scheduled.

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