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Oriana Johnson, et al. v. VCG-IS, LLC dba Imperial Showgirls, et al.

Los Angeles County Superior Court
Case No. 30-2015-00802813-CU-CR-CXC

Important Dates
Deadline to file a claim
Date of Preliminary Approval
Class Period
PAGA Period
Opt-Out Deadline
March 28, 2022
Objection Deadline
March 28, 2022
Dispute Deadline
March 28, 2022
Final Approval Hearing
April 5, 2022 8:30 AM
Disbursement Date
Expiration of Check Cashing Period
Important Documents & Info

Submit a W-9 Form by March 28, 2022

If you performed at Imperial Showgirls in Anaheim, California, at any time from August 5, 2014, through November 30, 2018, this proposed class action settlement may affect your rights.

What is this Lawsuit About?
This Lawsuit is about whether Defendant(s) misclassified exotic dance entertainers as independent contractors, paid minimum and overtime wages for all hours worked, provided proper meal periods and rest periods, provided proper wage statements, paid all wages owed upon termination of employment, kept accurate records for hours work, reimbursed performers for business expenses, made improper deductions from wages, and permitted performers to retain all gratuities as required by applicable federal and California laws, and whether certain penalties are due under the California Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”).

Throughout the litigation, Defendants have denied—and continue to deny—the factual and legal allegations in the case and have maintained that they have valid defenses to the claims. Defendants deny any wrongdoing and assert that their pay practices at all times complied with the law. Defendants also deny that they owe the monies claimed in the lawsuit. Yet Defendants have voluntarily agreed to the terms of a negotiated settlement to avoid the burden and expense of continued litigation.


Am I part of this Class?

The “Class” includes: All exotic dancers who performed at Imperial Showgirls in Anaheim, California, at any time from August 5, 2014, through November 30, 2018.


What are the terms of the proposed Settlement?
Defendants have agreed to pay $2,500,000.00 to settle all claims made in this Lawsuit. This amount is also known as the “Gross Settlement Amount.”

If the Court approves each of the requested deductions from the Gross Settlement Amount, the Parties estimate there will be about $1,484,666.67 remaining. The remaining funds will be called the “Net Settlement Amount.” The Net Settlement Amount will be distributed to Class Members who do not request exclusion (the “Participating Class Members”) according to the following formula (the “Individual Settlement Payments”):

The Net Settlement Amount will be distributed to each Participating Class Member on a pro rata basis determined by the number of Qualifying Months each Participating Class Member performed at Imperial Showgirls during the Class Period. The Settlement Administrator shall disperse Individual Class Member Settlement Payments to Participating Class Members in accordance with the terms of the Settlement.


YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS AND OPTIONS IN THIS LAWSUIT


PARTICIPATE IN THE SETTLEMENT – ACTION REQUIRED

Stay in this Lawsuit. Receive a payment. Give up certain rights. You MUST FILL OUT THE ONLINE W-9 Form. If the Settlement Administrator does not have your correct address and Social Security Number, you will not receive an Individual Settlement Payment and the funds allocated to you will be redistributed to other Class Members. Please see FAQ 18 for further details.

OBJECT TO THE SETTLEMENT

Stay in this Lawsuit. May give up certain rights. If you object to the Settlement, you will remain a member of the Settlement Class, and if the Court approves the Settlement, you will be bound under the Settlement just as Class Members who do not object, including the release of rights to sue the Defendants separately for the Released Class Claims.

ASK TO BE EXCLUDED

Get out of the Class Settlement. Get no payment from the Class Settlement but still get payment from the PAGA Settlement. Keep rights. If you ask to be excluded from the Settlement, you won’t receive any payment from the Class Settlement. But you keep any rights to sue Defendants separately for the legal claims raised or that could have been raised in this Lawsuit. But you will still receive a payment from the PAGA Settlement and release the PAGA claims.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

BASIC INFORMATION

1. Why did I get this notice?

Defendants’ records show that you may have performed at Imperial Showgirls in Anaheim, California, as an exotic dance entertainer during the Class Period. This notice explains that the Court has given preliminary approval to a Settlement in a conditionally certified class action lawsuit that may affect you.

The Court has determined only that there is sufficient evidence to suggest that the proposed Settlement might be fair, adequate, and reasonable. Any final determination of those issues will be made at the final hearing. You have legal rights and options that you may exercise as part of this Settlement. Judge Curtis A. Kin of the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles, is overseeing this Lawsuit. The “Lawsuit” is known as Oriana Johnson, et al. v. VCG-IS, LLC dba Imperial Showgirls, et al., Case No. 30-2015-00802813-CU-CR-CXC.

2. What is this Lawsuit about?

This Lawsuit is about whether Defendant(s) misclassified exotic dance entertainers as independent contractors, paid minimum and overtime wages for all hours worked, provided proper meal periods and rest periods, provided proper wage statements, paid all wages owed upon termination of employment, kept accurate records for hours work, reimbursed performers for business expenses, made improper deductions from wages, and permitted performers to retain all gratuities as required by applicable federal and California laws, and whether certain penalties are due under the California Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”).

Throughout the litigation, Defendants have denied—and continue to deny—the factual and legal allegations in the case and have maintained that they have valid defenses to the claims. Defendants deny any wrongdoing and assert that their pay practices at all times complied with the law. Defendants also deny that they owe the monies claimed in the lawsuit. Yet Defendants have voluntarily agreed to the terms of a negotiated settlement to avoid the burden and expense of continued litigation.


3. What is a class action and who is involved?

In a class action lawsuit such as this, a person called the “Class Representative” sues on behalf of other people who may have similar claims. The people together are a “Class" or "Class Members.” The person who is the Class Representative is also called the Plaintiff. The companies sued are called the Defendants. In class action litigation, one Court resolves the issues for everyone in the Class, except for those people who choose to exclude themselves from the Class.


4. Why is this Lawsuit a class action?

As part of the Settlement, Plaintiffs and Defendants agreed to conditionally certify the Class over all claims Plaintiffs alleged against Defendants as a class action, for settlement purposes only, and to ask the Court to approve the Settlement. The Court has not ruled on the merits of these claims, and the decision to certify the agreed-upon Class for settlement purposes should not be viewed as a prediction or agreement that Plaintiff or the Class would ultimately prevail on the merits of the action.

5. What are the terms of the proposed Settlement?

The major terms of the settlement are as follows:

1. Defendants have agreed to pay $2,500,000.00 to settle all claims made in this Lawsuit. This amount is also known as the “Gross Settlement Amount.”

2. Plaintiffs Oriana Johnson and Bryneisha Phillips have agreed to a general release of all claims against Defendants.

3. Plaintiffs seek these deductions from the $2,500,000.00 Gross Settlement Amount:
a. Up to one-third (1/3) of the Gross Settlement Amount (currently equal to $833,333.33) for Class Counsel’s attorneys’ fees.
b. Up to $45,000.00 for reimbursement of Class Counsel’s litigation costs.
c. An Enhancement Award of up to $20,000.00 to each Plaintiff ($40,000 total) for filing the Lawsuit, performing work as part of the Lawsuit, undertaking the risks of filing the Lawsuit, and the general release of all of their claims against Defendants.
d. Up to $22,000.00 to cover the costs of the Settlement Administrator.
e. $100,000 for Settlement of Private Attorneys General Act claims (“PAGA Allocation”). From the PAGA Allocation, $75,000.00 will be paid to the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency and $25,000 will be paid to Class Members. The $25,000 will be distributed among Class Members, regardless of whether they opt out of the Class Settlement, using the same formula set forth below.

If the Court approves each of the requested deductions from the Gross Settlement Amount, the Parties estimate there will be about $1,484,666.67 remaining. The remaining funds will be called the “Net Settlement Amount.” The Net Settlement Amount will be distributed to Class Members who do not request exclusion (the “Participating Class Members”) according to the following formula (the “Individual Settlement Payments”):

The Net Settlement Amount will be distributed to each Participating Class Member on a pro rata basis determined by the number of Qualifying Months each Participating Class Member performed at Imperial Showgirls during the Class Period. The Settlement Administrator shall disperse Individual Class Member Settlement Payments to Participating Class Members in accordance with the terms of the Settlement.


WHO IS IN THE CLASS?

6. Am I part of this Class?

The “Class” includes: All exotic dancers who performed at Imperial Showgirls in Anaheim, California, at any time during the Class Period.


7. I’m still not sure if I am included.

If you are not sure whether you are included in the Class, you can get free help by contacting CPT Group, Inc., the “Settlement Administrator,” at the designated phone number for this matter at 1-888-617-1682, or by calling or writing the lawyers representing the Class (“Class Counsel”), at the phone number, email, or address listed in Question 19.

YOUR RIGHTS AND OPTIONS

You have to decide whether to stay in the Class or ask to be excluded from the Settlement. These options are explained below, including any dates by which you need to take any actions.

8. What are my approximate Individual Settlement Payments?

Based on anticipated court-approved deductions and preliminary calculations, it is estimated that your Individual Settlement Payments will be based on the qualifying months in which you performed at Imperial Showgirls (Taxes will not be withheld from this amount, but you will be responsible for paying any taxes due on your total Individual Settlement Payment, including your pro rata share), which will be paid over two payments. The non-PAGA amount may change based on how many Class Members participate in the Settlement.

In order to receive your Individual Settlement Payments, you MUST make sure the Settlement Administrator has your correct address and Social Security Number. Please see Question 18 for further details. If you disagree with the number of months listed above, you can write to the Settlement Administrator and provide any proof that you performed in more months.

It is your responsibility to maintain your current address and Social Security Number with the Settlement Administrator. If you move, you should send a letter updating your address to the Settlement Administrator at the address provided in Question 16 below. Maintaining your current address and Social Security Number with the Settlement Administrator is the only way to ensure that you receive your Individual Settlement Payments. Because there will be two distributions made, it is important to keep the Settlement Administrator updated with your current contact information even after receiving the first check.

Individual Settlement Payment checks returned as undeliverable and unclaimed and uncashed 180 days after issuance and delivered checks remaining uncashed for more than 180 days after issuance will be void. The funds from any voided checks will be delivered to the California State Controller’s Unclaimed Property Fund with an identification of the amount of unclaimed funds attributable to each Class Member.


9. What rights am I releasing if I do not exclude myself from the Settlement?

If the Court grants final approval of the Settlement and you do not opt out of the Settlement, you and your respective heirs, estates, trustees, executors, administrators, representatives, agents, successors, assigns, and attorneys (the “Releasing Parties”), will forever waive, release, acquit, and discharge the Defendants, and each of them, and each and all of their respective past, present, and future affiliates, parent companies, subsidiaries, owners, shareholders, members, lenders, officers, partners, directors, managers, employees, agents, attorneys, accountants, bookkeepers, insurers, predecessors, representatives, accountants, plan administrators, licensors, consultants, heirs, estates, trustees, executors, administrators, predecessors, successors, and assigns, and all persons acting under, by, through, for, or in concert with, any of them (collectively, including Defendants, the “Released Parties”) from any and all claims pled or that could have been pled based on the factual allegations and issues set forth in the lawsuit, including, but not limited to, in the Fourth Amended Complaint, for any acts during the period from August 5, 2014 through November 30, 2018 (the “Released Class Claims”).

If you do not opt out and you deposit, cash, or otherwise negotiate your Individual Settlement Payment checks, you will be deemed to have consented to join this action, and thereby forever release, acquit, and discharge the Released Parties of all claims under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act that have been pled or that could have been pled based on the factual allegations and issues set forth in the Lawsuit, including, but not limited to, in Fourth Amended Complaint, for any acts during the period from August 5, 2014 through November 30, 2018.

If you opt out of the Settlement and the Court grants final approval, you will still release the Released Parties from all PAGA claims pled or that could have been pled based on the factual allegations and issues set forth in the lawsuit, including, but not limited to, in the Fourth Amended Complaint, for any acts during the period from August 5, 2014 through November 30, 2018 (the “Released PAGA Claims”). This is because you do not have a right to opt out of the PAGA portion of the settlement.

10. How do I object to the Settlement?

If you are a Class Member and would like to object to the Settlement, you must not submit a request for exclusion (i.e., must not opt out pursuant to Question 12 below). To object, you may mail a written objection to the Settlement Administrator at the address in Question 16 below. The objection should include a written statement of the grounds for objection, be signed by you or your authorized representative, and include all supporting papers. You should mail any written objection to the Settlement Administrator no later than March 28, 2022. You may appear in person at the Final Fairness and Approval Hearing to present any oral objections even if you do not submit a timely written objection. You may also retain an attorney, at your own expense, to submit an objection and/or to appear at the Final Fairness and Approval Hearing on your behalf.


11. Why would I ask to be excluded?

You have the right to exclude yourself from the Settlement Class (and the Settlement), but not from the PAGA portion of the Settlement. If you exclude yourself from the Settlement Class—sometimes called “opting-out” of the Class – you won't get any money or benefits from the Class Settlement, but you will still receive money from the PAGA Allocation. If you exclude yourself from the Settlement Class, you may then be able to sue or continue to sue Defendant(s) for your own claims if permitted by law, except for the Released PAGA Claims. If you exclude yourself, you will not be legally bound by the Court's disposition of this Lawsuit except for the Released PAGA Claims. If you exclude yourself, you should talk to your own lawyer soon, because your claims may be subject to a statute of limitations (thus, claims may have expired or will expire in a short time period).


12. How do I ask to be excluded from the Settlement Class?

If you are a member of the Class described above and would like to exclude yourself from the Class (“opt-out”), you, or your authorized representative, need to submit a written statement requesting exclusion from the Class to the Settlement Administrator at the address in Question 16 below. The statement must be signed by you or your authorized representative and must be postmarked on or before March 28, 2022. The date of the postmark on the mailing envelope shall be the exclusive means used to determine whether a “Request for Exclusion” has been timely submitted. Any Class Member who requests to be excluded from the Class will not be entitled to any recovery under the Settlement and will not be bound by the Settlement or have any right to object, appeal, or comment on it. However, any Class Members who requests to be excluded from the Class will still be sent a check for the PAGA portion of the Settlement (as long as your mailing address and Social Security Number are on file) and will still release the Released PAGA Claims. Class Members who fail to submit a valid and timely request for exclusion on or before March 28, 2022 will be bound by all terms of the Settlement and any final disposition entered in this Class Action if the Settlement is approved by the Court. If more than 7.5% of the Class Members request exclusion, Defendants can void the entire Settlement.



THE LAWYERS REPRESENTING YOU

13. Do I have a lawyer in this case?

The Court decided that Aegis Law Firm, PC and Lichten & Liss-Riordan PC are qualified to represent you and all Class Members. The law firms are called “Class Counsel” in the context of this case. The law firms’ attorneys are experienced in handling similar cases. More information about these law firms, their practices, and their lawyers’ experience is available at www.aegislawfirm.com and https://www.llrlaw.com/.


14. How will the lawyers be paid?

As part of the Settlement with Defendants, Class Counsel has requested one-third of the Gross Settlement Amount (currently equal to $833,333.33) in attorneys’ fees, plus costs not to exceed $45,000, to be paid from the Gross Settlement Amount to compensate Class Counsel for their work on this matter. You will not have to pay Class Counsel’s fees and costs separately from your Individual Settlement Payments.


15. How will the Plaintiffs be paid?

As part of the Settlement with Defendants, Class Counsel has requested an enhancement payment of up to $20,000.00 to be paid to each of the two Plaintiffs ($40,000 total) for their efforts during the investigation, discovery, mediation and the like, while serving as Class Representatives and taking on the burden and risks of litigation.

THE SETTLEMENT, APPROVAL, AND PAYMENT PROCESS

16. Who is handling the Settlement Administration process?

SETTLEMENT ADMINISTRATOR

Johnson, et al. v. VCG-IS, LLC dba Imperial Showgirls Settlement Administrator
c/o CPT Group, Inc.
50 Corporate Park
Irvine, CA 92606
Telephone: 1-888-617-1682
Email: VCGISSettlement@cptgroup.com

17. When is the Final Fairness and Approval Hearing and do I have to attend?

The Final Fairness and Approval Hearing has been set for April 5, 2022 at 8:30 a.m in Department 72 of the Los Angeles County Superior Court for the State of California, located at 111 North Hill St., Los Angeles, California 90012. You need not attend the hearing to be a part of the Settlement. But if you wish to object to the Settlement, you and/or your attorney may appear at the hearing. Please note that the hearing may be continued without further notice to the Class.


18. When will I get money after the hearing?

The Court will hold a hearing on April 5, 2022 to decide whether to approve the Settlement. If the Court approves the Settlement, after that there may be appeals if anyone objects. It is always unclear when these objections and appeals can be resolved, and resolving them can take time. To check on the progress of the Settlement, contact the Settlement Administrator or Class Counsel at the phone number or address listed in Question 19.

If the Court approves the Settlement, if you do not opt out, and if there are no objections or appeals, your Individual Settlement Payment will be distributed in two disbursements. The first disbursement will be about 90 days after the Final Fairness and Approval Hearing (but this period will be longer if there are objections, appeals), or both. The second disbursement will be about 31 months after the first disbursement.

Please note, you MUST make sure the Settlement Administrator has your correct address and Social Security Number.

You MUST FILL OUT THE ONLINE W-9 Form and return it to the Settlement Administrator. If the Settlement Administrator does not have your correct address and Social Security Number, you will not receive an Individual Settlement Payment and the funds allocated to you will be redistributed to other Class Members. Please enter your CPT ID and Passcode to access the online W-9 Form. Your CPT ID and PASSCODE can be found in the Notice Packet that was sent to you.

If Defendants default on the Settlement payments (meaning they fail to send the payments to the Administrator on time) before the second distribution, the available funds will still be distributed on the anticipated second distribution date, then Class Counsel will attempt to collect the missing funds. If the remaining funds are collected successfully, a third distribution will occur within a reasonable amount of time. Defendant will pay the additional administrator costs for the third disbursement and the additional administrator cost amount will be included in the default judgment. If Class Counsel are unable to collect, no third disbursement will occur.



GETTING MORE INFORMATION

19. Are more details available?

This Notice only summarizes the Lawsuit, the Settlement, and related matters. For more information, the pleadings, and other records in this litigation, including copies of the Settlement Agreement, may be examined at any time during regular business hours at the office of the Clerk of the Superior Court of the State of California for Los Angeles, at the Los Angeles County Superior Court, located at 111 North Hill St., Los Angeles, California 90012.

Any questions about this Notice or the Lawsuit may be directed to the Settlement Administrator at the below address and telephone number. Alternatively, you may contact your own attorney, at your own expense, to advise you, or you may contact Class Counsel at the address, telephone number, or email address set forth below. If your address changes, or differs from the address on the envelope enclosing this Notice, please promptly notify the Settlement Administrator.



SETTLEMENT ADMINISTRATOR

CLASS COUNSEL
Johnson, et al. v. VCG-IS, LLC dba Imperial Showgirls Settlement Administrator
c/o CPT Group, Inc.
50 Corporate Park Irvine, CA 92606
Tel: 1-888-617-1682
Email: VCGISSettlement@cptgroup.com

Kashif Haque
Samuel A. Wong
Jessica L. Campbell
AEGIS LAW FIRM, PC
9811 Irvine Center Drive, Suite 100
Irvine, California 92618
Telephone: (949) 379-6250
Facsimile: (949) 379-6251
Email: jcampbell@aegislawfirm.com

PLEASE DO NOT CALL OR WRITE TO THE JUDGE OR TO THE COURT, OR TO ANY OF DEFENDANTS’ MANAGERS, SUPERVISORS, OR DEFENDANTS’ ATTORNEYS WITH QUESTIONS.





Questions?

Please Call Toll Free
1(888)910-0257

Questions?

Please Call Toll-Free
1-888-617-1682VCGISSettlement@cptgroup.com

CPT GROUP, Inc.
50 Corporate Park,
Irvine, CA 92606

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