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Exotic dancers are employees, may settle case

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A federal judge has found that exotic dancers at an Indianapolis club are employees, not independent contractors as the club owner argued.

Wendi R. Morse and other exotic dancers at Dancers Showclub sued their employer in October 2008 claiming the club didn’t pay them in accordance with the Fair Labor Standards Act. They only were only paid in the tips they made and weren’t paid minimum wage.

Judge William Lawrence in the Southern District certified the suit as a class action. In June, he granted the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment on their FLSA claim based on the factors defined in Secretary of Labor v. Lauritzen, 835 F.2d 1529, 1535 (7th Cir. 1985). The judge also relied on a similar case out of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, Reich v. Circle C. Investments, Inc., 998 F.2d 324 (5th Cir. 1993), where that court found exotic dancers to be employees.

Instead of proceeding to a jury trial as previously set for December, the parties are now scheduled to participate in a joint settlement conference in September. Joining the settlement conference is Jennifer Dunn, who filed an identical suit against Dancers Showclub in February because she didn’t opt into the class-action suit in time.
 

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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