An exotic dancer who was shot at a Columbia, S.C., nightclub is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for her injury, according to a ruling by the state’s highest court.
The State newspaper reported that the South Carolina Supreme Court made that ruling last week in the case of LeAndra Lewis, stating that Lewis was an employee of the Boom Boom Room Studio 54, not an independent contractor, when she was shot there in 2008. That distinction makes her eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
The justices did not set an amount Lewis should be compensated for her injuries, sending that question back to the Court of Appeals. Court records show a stray bullet struck Lewis in the abdomen after a fight broke out at the club, harming her organs and resulting in loss of a kidney.
Among other things, the club chose Lewis’ dance music and required her to perform dances for certain customers, the court wrote. The club also supplied a place for her to dance and barred Lewis from leaving work early without risk of a fine.
“This is a message to employers of this industry that, if they are going to bring young, often uneducated laborers into this industry to make huge profits, then they need to have workers’ compensation to cover these unforeseen accidents,” said Lewis’ attorney Charles Burnette.
The paper’s efforts to reach a representative for the club were unsuccessful.
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