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Exotic Dancer Class Action Suit Filed Against Markovitz - Press Release

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.  

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.

Midland Daily News -- "Lawsuit Blames State Agencies for Dam Failures"

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.