MARTINSBURG – Three exotic dancers who claim their employer wrongfully took a portion of their tips have filed a class action lawsuit.
The lawsuit, filed March 1 in Berkeley County Circuit Court, alleges Paradise City II in Bunker Hill violated the Fair Labor Standards Act and the West Virginia Wage Payment and Collection Act by making its dancers pay it from the tips they earned performing private dances.
“The charges and fines which Defendants required each plaintiff and other dancers similarly situated to pay were assignments of wages within the meaning of the WCPA,” the complaint says.
“Defendants did not have from either plaintiff or any other dancer similarly situated the written authorization for wage assignments required by the WPCA.”
The lawsuit follows several filed in 2011 in federal court by Maryland attorney Gregg C. Greenberg of the Zipin Law Firm.
Greenberg filed five complaints from March 7, 2011 to Jan. 2, 2012, in Martinsburg’s federal court. Four have been settled, and the class action filed by Arielle Jordan, aka Queen, and Patrice Ruffin, aka Karma, against Legz Club remains pending, though a settlement has been proposed.
On Feb. 26, U.S. District Judge Gina Groh ordered a stay of litigation proceedings while she reviews the proposed settlement.
The gross settlement amount is $345,000. Greenberg and Martinsburg attorney Garry Geffert will petition the court for fees, litigation costs and a named plaintiff incentive award to be paid out of the $345,000.
The three plaintiffs in the March 1 case against Paradise City II are Man Le Garrett, Krystal McLaughlin and Jane Roe. Roe is a pseudonym being used to avoid violence from third parties.
The case alleges Paradise City II and manager Warren Dellinger required the three to pay, from their tips, $35 for each private dance and $30 for a 30-minute dance in the champagne room. Other dancers paid even higher amounts, the suit says, including $50 for a 30-minute dance in the champagne room.
Garrett and McLaughlin were employed for four months and Roe for 11 months. The women say they will fairly and adequately represent the class.
The other clubs sued by Geffert and Greenberg are Divas, Underground Casino and Lounge and Taboo Gentlemen’s Club.
From the West Virginia Record: Reach John O’Brien at firstname.lastname@example.org.