A Richmond woman filed suit Thursday against the owner of Richmond Mall and its security firm after she was escorted from the mall in August because of the outfit she was wearing.

Kimberly Clem, whose story made international headlines, filed suit in Madison Circuit Court against Bush Realty Richmond Mall LLC, the Brooklyn, New York-based owner of the mall, and Eagle Security, LLC, based in London, which provides security services for the Richmond Mall.

Mall representatives have declined to contact both Clem and her attorney, Wesley Browne since the August 10, 2008 incident, Browne said. 

“Apparently the Richmond Mall wanted a lawsuit and now they have one,” Browne said. “It is impossible to work out your differences with a company that refuses to talk to you. This could have been avoided. The management of the Richmond Mall has shown the same bad judgment in handling this controversy as they did when they let their security guard abuse a 20-year- old girl in a cute dress.”

The Eastern Kentucky University criminal justice major wore the dress to the mall on Aug. 10 after she purchased it from the DEB store Aug. 9.

Clem had only been there about 10 minutes when she was approached by a security guard who was concerned that her dress was too short, she said.

“He made me turn all the way around while he stared me up and down,” Clem said. “The only thing he said was that other people didn’t like the way I looked, so he wanted me to leave.”

The guard also said several women had complained because their husbands were staring at her, she said.

“I felt humiliated because not only did he embarrass me by making a scene, but he actually followed me out of the mall as if I stole something,” Clem said. “It’s hard for me to understand how I could be disrespected so much.”

Clem’s sister Kendra admitted that Kymberly’s dress was short, but that it was not showing her buttocks.

The lawsuit states that Clem changed clothes and returned to the mall the same day seeking a private apology from the mall’s management, but was advised she could not speak to management in person that she would have to call by telephone.

“The plaintiff requested the mall’s phone number, but was advised by the security guard to look up the number in the phone book,” the lawsuit states. “ ...the actions of the guard constitute assault, false imprisonment and outrageous conduct, which intentionally inflicted emotional distress upon the plaintiff.”

Clem said she wants to use this incident as a way to speak out about discrimination.

“I just want them to understand that they were wrong and this was a decision that was made by a personal opinion,” she said. “I want to speak for everybody else who has been discriminated against but has never said anything. I want them to apologize and let them know that this day and age, a woman has a right to wear what she wants.”

Ronica Shannon can be reached at rshannon@richmondregister.com or 623-1669, Ext. 234.

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