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Bonton v. Centerfold Entertainment Club, Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Hot Springs Division

May 19, 2015

TAMATRICA BONTON and DEANNA MILLER, Each Individually and on Behalf of All Others Similarly Situated, Plaintiffs
v.
CENTERFOLD ENTERTAINMENT CLUB, INC.; and JESSIE ORRELL, Individually and as Officer and/or Director of Centerfold Entertainment Club, Inc., Defendants

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

ROBERT T. DAWSON, District Judge.

Currently before the Court are Plaintiffs' Motion for Rule 23 Class Certification and supporting Brief (Docs. 18-19), Defendants' Response and supporting Brief (Docs. 21-22), and Plaintiffs' Reply (Doc. 25). For the reasons stated below, Plaintiffs' Motion (Doc. 18) is GRANTED.

I. Background

Plaintiffs, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, filed an Amended Complaint (Doc. 17)[1] alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 201 et seq. (the "FLSA") and the Arkansas Minimum Wage Act, A.C.A. §§ 11-4-201 et seq. (the "AMWA"). Plaintiffs allege that they were exotic dancers who worked at the adult entertainment club operated by Defendant Centerfold Entertainment Club, Inc., in Hot Springs, Arkansas within the three years prior to the filing of the Complaint. Plaintiffs claim Defendants intentionally misclassified them as independent contractors in order to avoid paying them minimum and overtime wages as required by the FLSA and the AMWA. Plaintiffs further claim Defendants violated the law by forcing them to pay for the right to work and taking improper deductions from their tips.

II. Discussion

A. Rule 23(a)

Plaintiff asks the Court to certify a liability class under Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure consisting of:

All individuals who danced for tips at Defendants' business located at 1396 East Grand Avenue, Hot Springs, Arkansas, in any work week any time after June 3, 2011.

Plaintiffs contend that the class definition creates an objectively identifiable class, that the Rule 23(a) prerequisites for certification of a class are satisfied, and that the Rule 23(b)(3) requirements for maintenance of a class are satisfied.

In order to obtain class certification, Plaintiffs must meet all four prerequisites of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(a), which provides:

One or more members of a class may sue or be sued as representative parties on behalf of all members only if:
(1) the class is so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable;
(2) there are questions of law or fact common to the class;
(3) the claims or defenses of the representative parties are typical of the claims or ...

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