Judges rule patrons may sue nude bars for lap-dance overcharges
Saturday, April 23, 2005
A three-judge Texas Court of Appeals ruling will allow men who were overcharged at nudie clubs to sue for refunds and damages.
The two plaintiffs, Paul Brian Meekey and Michael Fulmer, had their cases heard because they were charged more than a regular lap dance fee when they used a credit card, typically $25 for a $20 dance.
"Texas law is pretty clear that you cannot charge someone extra for using a credit card," said Sandra Krider, an attorney for the patrons. "The fact that they are strip clubs shouldn't mean they get away with it."
A lawyer for the businesses, Rick's Cabaret and the Men's Club, argued a case based on the type of employment the ladies agreed to perform.
“Since the dancers are independent contractors and not employees of the club, the clubs are not the ones selling the dances," said attorney Albert Van Huff.
But the men’s attorneys said the win could potentially become a class-action suit with many hundreds of men claiming their day in court. That could present a problem for other patrons who may not want their name and their use of a credit card at a nudie bar released in court transcripts.
"They are going to want the (strip) clubs' credit card companies to give them the names of all the different people who have charged dances there," said Van Huff.
The 14th Court of Appeals, a Texas court with headquarters in Houston, had reversed a ruling of a lower trial judge that this case should be heard before the state Finance Commission instead of in a judicial proceeding. The case was sent back to be tried again.
- Roma Khanna. "Ruling: Men can sue clubs over lap-dance fees" — , April 23, 2005
- Sun-News of the Northland Stripping nude bar fees on, off of bill April 23, 2005
- Hindustan Times There is nothing vulgar about bar dances April 23, 2005