CITY OF INDUSTRY, Calif. (KABC) -- It's a common practice at most strip clubs: Customers pay extra for lap dances or private VIP booths.
But at Paradise Showgirls in the City of Industry, exotic dancers had to pay the owner of the club a rental fee of $14 for a lap dance booth or $100 for a VIP booth. A class-action lawsuit was subsequently filed.
On Thursday, a Los Angeles County jury ruled that the club's rental fees were illegal and that the club owes hundreds of dancers $6.5 million.
"We're thrilled and delighted to have had such a conscientious and thoughtful jury," attorney K.L. Myles said. "They got it right."
Myles represents the plaintiff who sued successfully, alleging that the club illegally took a portion of the money earned by the exotic dancers.
"Money she received directly from customers that was paid to her was misappropriated by the club. They unlawfully took money from her and the jury agreed with her, and agreed with the fact that they took money from 249 dancers," Myles said.
Attorney Ernest Francheschi represents Paradise Showgirls. He says his client is entitled to rental fees.
"It's just like renting stage time. We operate kind of like a theatre, so that's what it is. A jury found they were tips under the court's instructions, which we take issue with," Francheschi said.
One of the jurors says the verdict sends a message.
"I think that they should understand that now that this has happened there's going to be some changes made with all the clubs and how the girls are paid," the juror said.
Francheschi says his client isn't giving up and plans to appeal.
"We think this classification violates equal protection so there's going to a be a constitutional challenge on appeal," Francheschi said.
Jury awards $6.5 million to strippers in City of Industry club lawsuit
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