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OFF BEAT: Lingerie football players sue league over scanty pay


Two lingerie football players are suing their former league in California court, saying that it wrongly classified its scantily clad athletes as independent contractors in order to pay them skimpy wages.

A hearing was held last month in Los Angeles Superior Court in Melissa Margulies v. Legends Football League L.L.C., according to media reports. Ms. Margulies was an “all-star running back” for the Los Angeles Temptation, according to a statement last month from Alexander, Krakow & Glick L.L.P. law firm in Santa Monica, California, the law firm representing Ms. Margulies.

The class-action suit also includes claims from plaintiff Robin “Nikki” Johnson, who was an “all-star quarterback” for the Las Vegas Sin, according to the Alexander law firm, which is one of the firms representing the lingerie-clad football players.

Ms. Margulies and Ms. Johnson named Legends Football League and its founder, Mitchell Mortaza, in their complaint, which was filed in late June, the law firm said. They accuse the Legends league of failing to pay minimum wage and the overtime pay that is due to them under federal and California labor laws.

“The (league) pays players an arbitrary amount of its choosing, which, if the players are lucky, may amount to $2,000 to $3,500 for the entire season,” according to the law firm statement. “For the 2013 season, Margulies and Johnson received nothing ($0.00!) despite the fact that both played a full season for the (league). Many other players were paid nothing for the 2013 season.”

Ms. Margulies and Ms. Johnson also claim the league failed to pay for injuries they suffered while playing football.

“As with male football leagues, the players are subjected to violent hits and often experience catastrophic injuries,” the law firm’s statement reads. “For example, Margulies suffered a broken orbital bone on her face and tore her ACL while playing. Johnson required hospitalization from a neck injury suffered during a game.”

Plaintiffs in the case are seeking general and compensatory damages and other judgments against the Legends league, according to media reports.

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