RICHLAND COUNTY, SC (WIS) - An exotic dancer who was shot when a fight broke out in a Two Notch Road strip club in 2008 has been denied Worker's Compensation benefits by the South Carolina Court of Appeals.
LeAndra Lewis was hit by stray gunfire while dancing at the Boom Boom Room Studio 54 on June 23, 2008. She was 19 and living in Charlotte at the time.
She suffered serious injuries to her intestines, liver, pancreas, kidney, and uterus. Surgeons removed one kidney, and doctors informed her she may never be able to have children due to the injuries to her uterus.
According to her testimony, extensive scarring from the gunshot wound left her unemployable as an exotic dancer.
Lewis, who frequently danced at clubs in North and South Carolina, filed a claim for benefits with the workers' compensation commission. Because the club had no insurance, the South Carolina Uninsured Employers' Fund was forced to defend.
During testimony, Lewis said she typically made $250-$350 per night and she danced 5-6 nights a week. A court filing estimated her total yearly income to be approximately $82,500.
Both the single commissioner and the appellate panel denied Lewis's claim based on the finding that she was not an employee of the club.
Her appeal then went directly to the Court of Appeals.
Her counsel argued that because the club's managers controlled her when she entered the building she should have been considered an employee of the business. Lewis said she was told when to dance, what music to dance to, and to pay a "tip out" fee each night.
She also argued that she and the club has an employment relationship because the club furnished equipment such as a stage, poles to assist dancers, and private rooms for V.I.P. dances.
"The club provided the dancers with cleaning solution, towels, and a basket for collecting money while on stage, and the club provided the dancers with lockers for their belongings," said Lewis.
One of Lewis' witness testified that exotic dancers travel from club to club depending on what rappers or actors are there.
The fact that Lewis was not invited to dance at the Boom Boom Room that night and could have left whenever she pleased, according to the court, weighed heavily against finding an employment relationship.
Evidence also showed that the club did not pay Lewis any money to work that night. The only money she made was strictly in the form of cash tips from customers.
The court also was of the opinion that because the club did not tell Lewis how to dance, it did not have complete control over her.
In a majority opinion, the court ruled that Lewis was an independent contractor and therefore not entitled to benefits under the Workers' Compensation Act. Copyright 2012 WIS. All rights reserved.
Tuesday, May 21 2013 3:29 PM EDT2013-05-21 19:29:04 GMT
For months, concerns had been raised about the welfare of Lucas Webb. Born Jan. 3, 2008, Lucas knew much pain and suffering in his four short years. More >
State records released Monday show how Missouri social workers failed to adequately pursue allegations of abuse involving a preschooler. Lucas Webb, 4, would die five days after the state closed the abuse investigation.More >
Tuesday, May 21 2013 6:02 PM EDT2013-05-21 22:02:38 GMT
The National Weather Service has confirmed that a tornado touched down near Knob Noster on Monday afternoon.The EF-1 tornado had winds of 86 to 109 mph. A team from Pleasant Hill reviewed the damage andMore >
The National Weather Service has confirmed that a tornado touched down near Knob Noster on Monday afternoon.More >
Tuesday, May 21 2013 5:50 PM EDT2013-05-21 21:50:06 GMT
Shawnee police searched along westbound Interstate 70 in Kansas City, KS, Tuesday afternoon, looking for a gun used in a murder that occurred three years ago. Captain Bill Hisle with the Shawnee PoliceMore >
Shawnee police searched along westbound Interstate 70 in Kansas City, KS, Tuesday afternoon, looking for a gun used in a murder that occurred three years ago.More >
Tuesday, May 21 2013 7:16 PM EDT2013-05-21 23:16:48 GMT
MOORE, OK - The Oklahoma County Sheriff's office tweeted a photo of a frightened, muddy dog Monday after the deadly EF-5 tornado ripped through the town.The comment accompanying the photo said, "scared,More >
A heartbreaking photo of a little dog guarding the body of his owner, who was killed in the Moore, OK, tornado, is going viral.More >
An Oregon girl abducted as a baby and missing for 18 years finally emerged in Dallas this week when her mother turned herself in to authorities, according to the Polk County Sheriff's Department. More >
An Oregon girl abducted as a baby and missing for 18 years finally emerged in Dallas this week when her mother turned herself in to authorities, according to the Polk County Sheriff's Department.More >
Monday, May 20 2013 9:21 AM EDT2013-05-20 13:21:47 GMT
WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - An Army wife who lost over 100 pounds while her husband was away in Afghanistan surprised the soldier Wednesday when he arrived at Wilmington International Airport. Misty Shaffer,More >
A soldier from Wilmington returns from Afghanistan to a big surprise: a new wife, a new house and a different child.More >
Tuesday, May 21 2013 9:18 PM EDT2013-05-22 01:18:28 GMT
As you sit at home and watch the coverage of the deadly tornado your children likely have questions about what happened. Experts say there are some good and bad ways to talk to your kids about the tragedy.More >
In the wake of the tornado that devastated Moore, OK, including two schools, parents now worry about their child's safety at their own school while finding appropriate ways to talk to their children about the tragedy.More >
Tuesday, May 21 2013 7:46 PM EDT2013-05-21 23:46:10 GMT
A state district judge has ordered the Gordon Parks Charter School to remain open until the end of June.This comes after the Missouri Board of Education recently voted to force the school to shut downMore >
A state district judge has ordered the Gordon Parks Charter School to remain open until the end of June. The Missouri Board of Education had voted to force the school to shutter its doors this month. More >