October 28, 2013, Royal Oak, Michigan -- A class action lawsuit has been filed in Federal Court in Detroit by three current and former exotic dancers against several Detroit adult night clubs, including The Coliseum, Flight Club and Penthouse Club. The suit names club owner Alan Markovitz for intentionally misclassifying exotic dancers and other night club employees as independent contractors instead of employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Michigan Minimum Wage Law, refusing to pay statutory minimum wages, unlawfully demanding a portion of gratuities and unlawfully deducting employee wages through rents, fines and penalties. Lead counsel for the plaintiffs, Megan Bonanni of Pitt McGehee Palmer Rivers & Golden (www.pittlawpc.com), says her clients are seeking an unspecified amount for damages, back pay, restitution, injunctive and declaratory relief and attorneys fees. "The dancers are bringing this action on behalf of themselves and the other members of the proposed class of night club employees who were intentionally misclassified as independent contractors despite the fact that they were treated as employees. This is an illegal pay scheme designed to increase the nightclub's profit margins at the expense of basic employee rights." said Bonanni. This class of plaintiffs includes the dancers and nightclub employees such as waitresses, shot girls and others who worked in the Markovitz-owned establishments and were misclassified by the Defendants as independent contractors. In addition to failing to pay employees wages, the night clubs illegally collected a portion of dancers' tips through rents and fines, forcing them to pay "tip-outs" to bouncers, disc jockeys and other club employees. Co-counsel Kevin Stoops reports that numerous, other adult night clubs throughout the country have illegally classified exotic dancers as independent contractors to avoid paying actual wages, Social Security, Medicare and unemployment insurance. A recent Federal court ruling in New York ordered adult night club Rick's Cabaret to pay back wages to 1,900 exotic dancers who had worked there during the last three years. Similar lawsuits filed by dancers are pending throughout the country. Markovitz, who published an autobiography entitled "Topless Prophet," has been involved in the Detroit adult entertainment industry for decades. In the book, Markovitz writes about his introducing a "new model" in the industry which would have the "...dancers paying the club for the privilege of making an income on the premises, not as hourly wage earners, but as independent contractors." Bonanni says that as evidenced by the number of lawsuits across the country, misclassification of this type became a standard procedure at many of the largest and most successful adult night clubs in the country as a mechanism for the clubs to increase their profit margins. "Though strip clubs are some of the most common offenders, they are hardly the only industry that exploits the 'independent contractor' classification," said Stoops. He says the U.S. Department of Labor estimates about one-third of all businesses misclassify their employees in this manner. Information for current and former dancers at clubs owned by Markovitz is available at (Facebook page). Located in Royal Oak, Pitt McGehee Palmer Rivers & Golden is one of Michigan's leading law firms specializing in civil and workplace rights. Its attorneys represent clients in a broad range of actions, including sexual harassment, wrongful discharge, whistleblower issues and discrimination based on age, gender, disability, race, religion and national origin. For additional information visit www.pittlawpc.com Jesse Young of Sommers Schwartz is also serving as plaintiffs' co-counsel on the case. Sommers Schwartz, P.C., a law firm located in Southfield, Michigan, represents individuals in Michigan and across the country who have been harmed as a result of medical errors, defective products, loss of employment, and other forms of negligence or intentional injury, as well as businesses involved in complex litigation matters that jeopardize their existence. Additional information about Sommers Schwartz can be found on its website: http://www.sommerspc.com.
Channing Robinson-Holmes was featured in a biographical profile published by the Legal News. Read the full profile of Channing here.
Michael Pitt and Ted Leopold were quoted in coverage by television outlet WJRT/ABC/Flint regarding the process for filing claims in the Flint Water Crisis class action, in which the State of Michigan announced a proposed $600 million settlement....
MIchael Pitt was cited in an article published by the Traverse City Record-Eagle regarding the State of Michigan's proposed $600 million settlement in the Flint Water Crisis class action. Read the full report here.
Michael Pitt and Ted Leopold were quoted in The Hill (daily newsletter covering the federal govt. and national issues) as part of its coverage of the State of Michigan's proposed $600 million settlement in the Flint Water Crisis class action....
Detroit Free Press -- "Flint Water Crisis Legal Settlement Totals $600M, Creates Victim Compensation Fund"
Michael Pitt and Ted Leopold were cited in a Detroit Free Press report on the proposed $600 million settlement in the Flint Water Crisis class action and how the funds will be distributed. Read the entire article here.
Michael Pitt and Ted Leopold were quoted in a Detroit News article reporting on the process to be used for making claims in the Flint Water Crisis class action in which a $600 million settlement has been proposed. Read the entire article...
Michael Pitt and Trachelle Young were quoted in NBC News coverage of the State of Michigan's announcement of a proposed $600 million settlement in the Flint Water Crisis class action. Read the entire report here.
Michael Pitt and Ted Leopold were cited in WNEM/CBS/Saginaw coverage of the announcement by the State of Michigan on a proposed $600M settlement in the Flint Water Crisis class action. Read the entire report here.
Jennifer Lord was quoted in a Law360 "Access to Justice" feature examining problems experienced by thousands of Americans trying to collect unemployment benefits due to COVID-19-related layoffs and ongoing issues with automated...
Michael Pitt was quoted in a Bridge Michigan report on reaction to the announcement of a $600M Settlement in the Flint Water Crisis class action. Read the entire report here.
Michael Pitt was quoted in a Washington Post report on the announcement of a $600 millon settlement in the Flint Water Crisis class action. Read the entire report here.
Legal News -- "Michigan Court of Appeals Affirms $388K Verdict for Jackson Educator in Whistleblower Lawsuit"
Megan Bonanni was quoted in a Legal News report on the Michigan Court of Appeals affirmation of a $388K verdict in the Pennie Davis whistleblower case against Jackson Schools. Read entire article here.
M. Pitt Cited in MLive Report on Midland Area Couple's Claim Filed Against the Federal Energy Resource Commission in Edenville Dam Collapse
Michael Pitt was quoted in MLive coverage of the claim filed against the Federal Energy Commission by a Midland Couple for property and personal damages caused by flooding after the collapse of the Edenville Dam in May 2020. The firm is representing Dan and Cathy Miller and filed a $1.25 million claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act. Read entire article here.
M. Pitt Cited in Bridge Magazine Report on Lawsuit Firm Filed Against Federal Energy Resource Commission
Michael Pitt was cited in Bridge Magazine coverage of the lawsuit filed by the firm against the Federal Energy Resouce Commission. The plaintiffs are Sanford, Mich. couple Cathy and Dan Allen whose home was severely damaged in mass flooding following the collapse of the Edenville Dam in May 2020.
Mike Pitt, Ted Leopold and Paul Stephen were referenced as plaintiffs' attorneys in a Midland Daily News report on the lawsuit filed June 25 in the Michigan Court of Claims. The coverage notes that the suit's 15 plaintiffs owned property and homes which were damaged or destroyed in the May 19 Midland area flooding caused by the collapse of the Edenville Dam. Read full article here.
Michael Pitt was cited in Detroit News coverage examining the lack of maintenance and repairs at the Edenville Dam and related issues regarding regulation of the dam prior to its collapse and subsequent flooding in the Midland area. Read full article here.
Micheal Pitt was cited in a Bridge Magazine report on the appointment of an independent team of investigators to look into the Edenville Dam failure which resulted in massive flooding and property damage in the Midland, Mich....
Jennifer Lord was cited in an article published by GOVERNING magazine regarding the breakdown in customer service at the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency. Read full article here.
Crain's Detroit Business -- "Nonprofit Sues Canton Apartment Complex, Alleging Discrimination of Recovering Substance Abusers"
Robin Wagner and firm client Joseph Paliwoda were quoted in Crain's Detroit Business coverage of the Personalized Nursing LIGHT House vs. Crossings of Canton housing discrimination suit: Read full article here.