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$6.5 Million Awarded To Strippers Who Say Club Took Their Lapdance Tips

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Over 200 dancers have been awarded $6.5 million by a jury after they say the strip club they worked for illegally took their tips.The verdict was read on Thursday morning in a class-action lawsuit filed by lead plaintiff Quinece Hills against Paradise Showgirls in the City of Industry. According to the suit, 249 women allege the club withheld the tips they earned from private dances in the club. The club's attorney said the club was legally entitled to some of the money as a rental fee for the lapdance booths and V.I.P. rooms. "It's just like renting stage time—we operate like a theater," Ernest Franceschi told FOX 11. He added that the club will appeal the verdict. "We think it's wrong."

The managers at Paradise Showgirls admit they took $14 for every lapdance and $100 for every "V.I.P." dance in a private room. Although jurors agreed it was fair for the club to charge rent, they said the law made it pretty clear which side to come down on. "They didn't have a contract that would say that they had to pay the rent," said Linda Robbins. "Because there were contracts missing, that made it very difficult to prove anything"

Hills' attorney KL Myles says California's state law allows for exotic dancers to treat money from customers as tips. Under the state's labor code, employers are not entitled to any tips or gratuities. "We're very pleased that we had such a thoughtful and conscientious jury," she said.