On September 26, 2014, Eva Agerbrink filed a class and collective action complaint in New York federal court against modeling agency MSA Models and MSA Models owner Susan Levine. The complaint alleges that MSA and Levine have misclassified their “fit models” as independent contractors in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the New York Labor Law. Ms. Agerbrink seeks payment of minimum wages, payment of unpaid earned wages, liquidated damages with respect to minimum wages that were eventually paid but were not paid promptly, reimbursements for illegal deductions, as well as additional associated liquidated damages.
In addition, Ms. Agerbrink alleges that MSA and Levine are operating as an unlicensed employment agency in violation of New York General Business Law § 172, and therefore, cannot enforce their modeling employment agreement with respect to all, or a portion of, the “commissions” that MSA and Levine deduct from their fit models’ wages. The complaint further alleges that MSA Models’ deductions for “commissions” are illegal wage deductions in violation of New York Labor Law § 193.
Ms. Agerbrink seeks certification of a class of all MSA fit models from September 2008 through the resolution of the lawsuit. The case is Agerbrink v. Model Service LLC d/b/a MSA Models, No. 14 Civ. 7841, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.