LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A local attorney allegedly placed syringe-sized hidden cameras under sinks at Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf bathrooms in Encino, according to a lawsuit.

The suit, filed by Roderick Smith in Los Angeles Superior Court, accuses Mark Daniel Wenzel of using the devices to record people on the toilet.

Coffee Bean was also named in the lawsuit for not doing enough to prevent the recordings from happening in the first place.

In October 2011, Smith claims he told management at Coffee Bean that he found a camera pointing to the toilet while he was using the bathroom.

Smith said he later found another camera in the coffee house restroom, according to court papers.

Shortly after the incident, the suit claims police arrested Wenzel on a misdemeanor charge at a second Coffee Bean location.

Smith alleges Wenzel pleaded no contest to the charge and was ordered to stay 100 yards away from all Coffee Bean shops, among other things.

A City Attorney’s Office representative couldn’t verify that information.

“This is a gross invasion of privacy and deplorable that a lawyer who fights to protect consumers was involved in this type of activity,” said Brian Kabateck, Smith’s attorney. “It is the responsibility of all retailers to protect their customers’ right to privacy in a dressing room or bathroom.”

Smith alleges invasion of privacy, negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress in the lawsuit.

He’s seeking unspecified damages.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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