Judge Says King of Diamonds Can't Force Strippers Not to Sue the Club

King of Diamonds might be the world's greatest hip-hop strip club, a place where Floyd Mayweather makes it rain $100,000 in one night and Lil Wayne regularly drops the equivalent of a small European nation's GDP. But some of KOD's strippers say that wealth hasn't filtered down to them. They've sued the club over allegations that they weren't paid wages or overtime.  

That fight is still winding its way through court, but in the meantime, KOD began demanding that newly hired strippers sign arbitration agreements. Their effect: Any strippers who signed them would be prevented from joining the lawsuit and would be required to go through an arbitrator instead if they had a beef over their cash intake.

That's a no-no, a federal magistrate has now ruled, ordering KOD to stop forcing dancers to sign the agreements. U.S. Magistrate Judge Jonathan Goodman ruled that because KOD had "unequivocally" created the new contracts to prevent dancers from joining the ongoing lawsuits, the documents aren't valid.  

The agreements were designed, "at least in part, to dissuade entertainers from participating in this civil action," Goodman wrote in his December 31 decision, which was first noted by Courthouse News.  

KOD became legendary as the go-to spot in South Florida for rappers and athletes looking for a night of T&A. In addition to offering scores of stages, the club also boasts a tattoo parlor, a barbershop, a sex-toy store, and even a basketball half-court. Few other clubs have been featured in as many music videos as King of Diamonds. 

But KOD was sold to New York investors for $6 million in 2014. That year, the club's management was hit with a proposed class-action suit from dancers who claimed they were getting stiffed on money. "The adult entertainers are paid no wages, receive no overtime pay, and are required to remain at the club during hours in which it is impossible for them to earn gratuities, as the club is closed for business," the complaint said, according to Law 360.

Soon after, KOD began requiring dancers to sign the promise to go to arbitration instead of suing over their wages. The club also filed a motion in federal court asking a judge to compel all dancers to go to arbitration. But Goodman ruled that this request is "clearly coercive and admittedly designed to undermine this litigation."

KOD's lawyer in this case, Atlanta-based Dean Fuchs, didn't immediately respond to New Times' request for comment on the latest ruling. But he hinted to Courthouse News that the club might challenge the ruling, telling the site: "I'm not in the habit of commenting on active cases, particularly before we've had the chance to appeal."
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Tim Elfrink is a former investigative reporter and managing editor for Miami New Times. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink