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Exotic Dancers Can Notify Class Of $8M Win In X-Rated Mag

Law360—Kurt Orzeck

Exotic dancers who scored an $8 million settlement in their wage-and-hour class action against the Penthouse Executive Club in Manhattan can notify class members through an adult-oriented website and magazine, a New York federal judge ruled Thursday.

The dancers, who accused the club of misclassifying them as independent contractors in an effort to deny them employee rights, proposed Tuesday that the notices be posted in Xtreme Magazine and on StripperWeb.com. Xtreme Magazine touts itself as the largest free adult publication in the U.S., while StripperWeb.com is advertised as "a positive and friendly environment where strippers can learn from each other."

Notices will also be mailed to the members of the settlement class, which includes 1,245 entertainers who performed at Penthouse Executive Club in Manhattan 2004 through 2012.

U.S. District Court Judge Kimba M. Wood ruled Thursday that the costs associated with distributing the notices would come out of the plaintiffs' attorneys' fee award, under the terms of the settlement that was reached last month.

The club's entertainers accused the club of failing to keep adequate payroll records and to pay minimum wage. The class action also alleged the club had neglected to provide dancers with notice of the hours they had worked and what their pay rate was, and committed other violations of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and New York’s Labor Law.

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The dancers were granted class certification in October 2010, and Judge Wood granted preliminary approval of the class action settlement on Apr. 29.

Under its terms, the class members are to receive a minimum payment of about $3,728 for their first year of employment at the go-go lounge and around $988 for every year after that.

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In addition to the Xtreme Magazine and StripperWeb.com postings, the settlement notices will be mailed to the last known address of each class member within 30 days of the preliminary approval.

Class members will have 90 days from the date of mailing to submit opt-out requests, or to comment on or object to the settlement, and they are scheduled to receive payments within 30 days of the effective date.

A final fairness hearing will be held Sept. 13. in New York federal court.

Attorneys for the nightclub and the dancers did not immediately respond to requests for comment Friday.

The dancers are represented by Justin M. Swartz ... of Outten & Golden LLP, Lloyd Ambinder and LaDonna M. Lusher of Virginia & Ambinder LLP, Jeffrey Brown of Leeds Brown Law PC, and Gratienne Baskin of the Urban Justice Center Sex Workers Project.

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