Sommers Schwartz attorney Jason Thompson prevailed on an appeal involving a $6.55 million class action settlement on behalf of exotic dancers who alleged they were not paid a minimum wage while working at Déjà Vu gentlemen’s clubs.
The plaintiffs are current and former exotic dancers at defendant Déjà Vu-affiliated clubs across the country, and earned their income through tips and fees received from customers. The defendant classified the dancers as independent contractors and did not pay them minimum wage (or any wages at all). Additionally, the plaintiffs paid the clubs “rent” from their tips for each night they worked.
In 2016, the plaintiffs filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, claiming the defendant violated federal and state wage laws by intentionally misclassifying them as independent contractors. The parties agreed to a $6.55 million class action settlement, which the court approved over objections by four plaintiff class members. The four objected plaintiffs then appealed.
On June 3, 2019, the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the approval of the $6.55 million settlement, finding that the district court judge properly determined that the benefits of the settlement outweighed the value of the plaintiffs’ claims.