SOURCE: Nichols Kaster, PLLP

Nichols Kaster, PLLP

December 23, 2009 16:18 ET

XXX-Mas Comes Early for New York Strippers Represented by Nichols Kaster, PLLP

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - December 23, 2009) - On December 16, 2009, United States District Court Judge John G. Koeltl conditionally certified a class consisting of an estimated 4,500 women who worked as strippers at the Rick's Cabaret located at 50 West 33rd Street, New York, NY 10001.

The lawsuit alleges that women who worked as strippers at Rick's New York location were misclassified as independent contractors when they should have been classified as employees. As a result of the misclassification, the suit alleges that class members were denied the minimum wage, and instead received their only income in the form of tips from customers, a practice which the Plaintiffs allege violates both New York and federal law. The suit also alleges that class members were required to pay illegal "house fees" in order to work, a practice which also is alleged to violate both state and federal law.

Other lawsuits on behalf of misclassified strippers, some brought by the United States Department of Labor, have resulted in favorable verdicts. Rick's is no stranger to these claims. A nearly identical misclassification lawsuit filed by a single entertainer against Rick's settled for $36,000 plus attorneys' fees. In documents filed with the Court, the two named plaintiffs in this case estimated their individual damages as exceeding $20,000 each. Given the size of the class, potential damages for the class are well into the millions.

"Rick's has it backwards," said Plaintiffs' attorney E. Michelle Drake, "Strippers are not supposed to have to pay to work. They may agree to strip off their clothes, but they have not agreed to be stripped of their rights." Drake continued, "Fifty dollars per night, plus an additional amount for hourly wages, adds up to a lot of money very quickly, especially when that amount is doubled under federal law."

The Court has scheduled January 8, 2010 as the deadline for the parties to determine how notice should be provided to the class members. In the meantime, individuals may find information about joining this action at www.nka.com or by calling (612) 256-3200.

Plaintiffs are represented by E. Michelle Drake and Steven A. Smith from the law firm of Nichols Kaster, PLLP. Nichols Kaster has offices in Minneapolis, Minnesota and San Francisco, California. The case is pending in the Southern District of New York as Hart, et. al v. RCI Entertainment (NY) Inc. and Peregrine Enterprises, Inc., Case No. 09-CV-3043 (JGK/THK). The previously settled matter was also filed in the Southern District of New York as Imbeault, et.al. v. Rick's Cabaret International, Inc. et.al., Case No. 08-CV-5458 (GEL).

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