It is enough to make Tony Soprano and the guys at the BaDa Bing! weep. Patsy Hamaker, a stripper at The Furnace in Birmingham, is suing the strip club over a car accident: claiming that she was pushed to drink with clients to raise revenue and that her employer should have stopped her from driving given her intoxication.
Dancers are paid a percentage of drink sales that clients purchase and are encouraged to push them to buy drinks for themselves and the dancers. It appears that the old dump-the-drink-in-the-planter approach is not always available in these conditions.
One one level, this is a standard extension of the Dram Shop litigation. However, such laws usually bar (either practically or expressly) recovery to the drunk. They are primarily used by third parties suing a bar. Nevertheless, it is not unheard of for the drunk to sue an employer.
The role of the job incentive makes this a more interesting case. While the court is likely to be a bit hostile to the case, it is worth a serious look. This is a relatively unique job where alcohol consumption is encouraged with a strong financial incentive. If the club has not system or supervision regarding drunk driving, there is a plausible claim of negligence. No one is suggesting the need for a MADS (Managers Against Drunk Strippers) organization. Rather, a business that pushes employees to drink should have some responsibility for dealing with the obvious danger of late night drunk driving.
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