Six of Eight Plaintiffs Settle in INTU Casino Massage Therapists Case
Six of eight plaintiffs who filed suit against prominent casino massage-therapy service provider INTU Corporation have accepted a smallish offer from the company to resolve claims involving violations of the Fair Labor Standards
Act (FLSA), interference with Contractual Relations, and a failure to pay minimum wages, among other claims. The six plaintiffs each have accepted a $1,000 settlement to end the matter, while two other plaintiffs who assert significantly higher damages are continuing the case against INTU and its president and founder, Deanna Edwards.
Massage therapists Shannon DeLelle, Crystal Honeck, Dusty Dangerfield, Jennifer Wakuzawa-Kida, Sarah Pascoe, and Shannon Thompson have each accepted INTU’s $1,000 settlement offer in a case that continues to test the limits of the employment terms that an employer can impose on de facto employees while maintaining them in an legal sense as third-party contractors. The collective case also threatened to reshape the Las Vegas massage-therapy scene, where INTU is one of several firms competing for exclusive service rights at major casino events, including poker tournaments and cash games.
In recognizing the settlement of the six plaintiff’s claims, presiding US District Judge Miranda M. Du quickly dismissed a claim by INTU that the plaintiffs’ should pay the company’s legal fees, which Du wrote “would be unjust.” INTU formally terminated the employment agreements of each of the eight plaintiffs within days of their filing or joining the action, in what the plaintiffs’ attorney, Maurice “Mac” VerStandig, has continued to argue is designed to have a chilling effect on other INTU contractor therapists joining the action. As many as 60 such third-party contractors might be eligible to join such a certified case. However, whether the case will be certified as a class-action matter remains unresolved, and other defendants could still be added to the case if such certification occurs.
The two other plaintiffs, Krystal Johnson and Elizabeth Spangler, continue their battle for a larger settlement or possible jury trial. That portion of the case continues in the US District of Nevada action. For those two plaintiffs, the two sides continue to file heated claims against each other alleging failures to provide demanded discovery material. INTU has previously defended such matters as the prices it charges for services and the compensation rate it pays as being trade secrets, despite such information being not only open, but germane to the case.
Flushdraw received the following statement from VerStandig, the plaintiffs’ attorney: “It is rewarding to see some members of our team secure judgments and collect monies for their efforts, and we very much look forward to continuing the case with other plaintiffs, hoping to continue our effort to bring justice to a massage therapist community full of hard working people who are such an integral part of the poker community.”