The Face Modeling Competition Winner Devyn Abdullah Files Complaint Seeking Payment of Withheld Portion of Ulta Beauty Contract Award Against Direct Model Management, Inc. and Owner Mykola Webster

On April 21, 2015, The Dugger Law Firm, PLLC filed a federal complaint on behalf of Devyn Abdullah, the first winner of The Face television modeling competition, against her former modeling agency, Direct Model Management, Inc., as well as Direct owner and president Mykola Webster, and Direct head of finance Atiff Joseph, for violations of federal and state wage and hour laws, as well as breach of contract.  

The complaint alleges that Defendants misclassified Ms. Abdullah as an independent contractor in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the New York Labor Law.

Among other violations, Ms. Abdullah alleges that Defendants withheld, and otherwise failed to pay her, at least $13,000 of her wages from The Face competition award of a $50,000 contract with Ulta Beauty

The complaint also alleges that Defendants failed to pay Ms. Abdullah for work with several additional modeling industry clients.

Ms. Abdullah 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, additional associated liquidated damages, as well as damages for breach of contract and New York Labor Law recordkeeping violations.

The case is Abdullah v. Direct Model Management, Inc., et al., No. 15 Civ. 03100, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

For more information contact Cyrus E. Dugger at cd@theduggerlawfirm.com or (646) 560-3208.

The Dugger Law Firm, PLLC Files Independent Contractor Misclassification Class Action Against MSA Models and Susan Levine

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. 

Letterman Probably Not Laughing in Light of Unpaid Intern Class Action

Probably not laughing at all:

"ICM Partners might be happy to hear today that they are not the latest industry enterprise to be hit with an interns lawsuit, but it’s a good bet CBS and The Late Show With David Letterman are not. The network and the late-night show have been walloped with a class action of their own: Late last week, Mallory Musallam filed a class action complaint against CBS Broadcasting, CBS Corp. and the retiring late-night host’s Worldwide Pants on behalf herself and everyone who has ever been an intern on the show. 'Named Plaintiff has initiated this action seeking for herself, and on behalf of all similarly situated employees that also worked on The Late Show With David Letterman, all compensation, including minimum wages and overtime compensation, which they were deprived of, plus interest, attorneys’ fees, and costs,' says the jury demanding filing in New York Supreme Court (read it here)." (link)

Will CBS and Letterman go the way of Charlie Rose and his production company and get ahead of this unpaid intern lawsuit (Rose settled early on in litigation for $110,000), go the way of Fox Searchlight and litigate, lose, appeal, and then cross their fingers, or win and face appeal as in the Hearst unpaid intern litigation?

We shall soon see.