HUNTINGTON – An exotic dancer has filed a potential class action against the Southern Xposure chain of strip clubs, claiming the business violated state wage laws.
Brittany Siebenhaar filed her complaint May 9 in Cabell Circuit Court against BRC Café Inc., BCC Café Inc., BMC Café Inc., MCC Café Inc. and PMC Café Inc., all doing business as Southern Xposure. Owner Mahesh Patel and business partner David DuPont also are listed as defendants. The complaint says the class would include other similarly situated former and current employees of the defendants. It says the class could exceed 1,000 members.
According to her complaint, Siebenhaar began working as an entertainer for the clubs in September 2009. Her employment ended in January 2017.
She said she and other potential plaintiffs were required to work two eight-hour shifts on Fridays and Saturdays along with two other eight-hour shifts during the week. She says she and other potential plaintiffs were required to work all holidays and could not have other jobs. She also says she and other potential plaintiffs were required to pay fees to the defendants of $30, $50 or $100 depending on when they worked, and they had to pay a fine of up to $500 if they were late for work.
Siebenhaar says the defendants never provided her and other potential plaintiffs with a W2 form; illegally required her and other potential plaintiffs to purchase supplies such as shoes, outfits and undergarments from them; illegally took tips, sometimes up to 75 percent; penalized her and other potential plaintiffs if customers used a credit or debit card; demanded she and other potential plaintiffs pay illegal “user fees;” and forced her and other potential plaintiffs to pay $20 per drink at least three times a night to be able to work while only allowing her $6 of a tip on each $20 drink regardless of the cost or standard price. Also, she says an investigation showed the defendants forced her and other potential plaintiffs to cash checks and pay 50 percent of the amount back to the defendants.
“A significant amount of the work that plaintiffs were required to perform by defendants was not paid,” the complaint states. “Defendants Southern X’s practice of failing to timely pay plaintiffs and others like them earned wages due was the result of a practice by defendant Southern X to take cash payments from plaintiffs avoiding tax consequences. Upon information and belief, this practice was longstanding and affected all of its operations in the state of West Virginia.”
Siebenhaar, as the potential class representative, seeks any compensatory and punitive damages for the defendants’ willful, reckless and wanton behavior. She also seeks to have the court enjoin the defendants from engaging in such practices in the future. She also seeks interest, liquidated damages, court costs, attorney fees and other relief.
She is being represented by D. Adrian Hoosier of Lord Hoosier in Charleston. He has represented at least eight other former Southern X employees – not just dancers – in at least four similar lawsuits in recent years. All except one of the plaintiffs have been settled out of court and/or had the case dismissed.
Siebenhaar’s case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Paul Farrell.
Cabell Circuit Court case number 18-C-254