Maryland Live Casino decided to fold ’em rather than hold ’em this week when it settled a case with three former employees seeking unpaid wages.
Three women claimed PPE Casino Resorts Maryland LLC, the Baltimore company that owns the Hanover casino, owed them overtime wages.
The complaints were filed simultaneously in U.S. District Court in Baltimore in early August. The lawsuits appear to be the first filed against a casino in Maryland.
Both parties in all three cases filed joint motions to stay proceedings Tuesday.
Details of the settlement remain unclear. PPE Casino’s attorney, Robert G. Ames of Venable LLP in Washington, D.C, declined to comment since U.S. District Court Judge George Levi Russell III had not issued an order on the parties’ motions to stay the cases.
Richard Neuworth of Lebau & Neuworth LLC in Baltimore, an attorney for the plaintiffs, did not respond to requests for comment. Neither did Maryland Live.
DeAnna Ganzermiller, a former benefits coordinator; Jennifer McMorrow, a former staff accountant; and Rhonda Sprinkle, a former payroll department employee, all allege that they worked 50- to 60-hour weeks and were never paid for overtime hours, violating the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and the Maryland Wage and Hour Law.
The three also filed for class action status, claiming similarly situated employees were not paid for extra hours either. They also alleged that the casino did not keep an accurate record of their hours and did not maintain postings informing them of their rights as employees under state and federal law.
Since the lawsuits were filed Aug. 6, PPE Casino had filed several motions to extend time in the case, ending in Tuesday’s settlement.
McMorrow claimed she worked nine-hour days during the week as well as on weekends while she was at the casino from April 30, 2012, to Aug. 23, 2012. McMorrow, of Millersville, also said she was not a certified public accountant, but reviewed the casino’s accounts payable and receivable journal entries.
From Jan. 20, 2012, to September 2012, Sprinkle sometimes worked almost 12-hour shifts, totaling 60 to 65 hours a week at the casino. She sometimes worked until 1 a.m. Sprinkle, of Abingdon, entered data for the casino, plugging in employee time and information on new hires and terminated employees.
Ganzermiller reviewed insurance plans with employees, scheduled information sessions and signed employees up for plans during her stint at the casino from Feb. 1, 2012, until April 2013. Ganzermiller, of Joppatowne, claims she worked 50-hour, sometimes 90-hour weeks, staying for after-work events like a New Year’s Eve party the casino hosted.
Under state law, the three women were asking for compensation for the overtime hours they worked while at the casino, pre-and post-judgment interest and attorneys’ fees and costs. They sought the same relief under federal law as well as liquidated damages.
Salaried employees are not automatically exempt from the overtime protections under federal law, according to the U.S. Labor Department.
Maryland Live, the largest casino in the state, has been doing well since its opening at the Arundel Mills mall in June 2012. The casino made about $50.5 million in September, the most by far in the state, according to the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency. Collectively, Maryland casinos earned $65.3 million in total revenue in September.
The casino has grown from 3,200 slot machines when it opened, to over 4,000 slot machines, 122 table games like black jack and roulette and 52 poker tables. The casino also features a steakhouse, a live concert venue and a gourmet burger restaurant.
GANZERMILLER V. PPE CASINO RESORTS MARYLAND LLC; SPRINKLE V. PPE CASINO RESORTS MARYLAND LLC; MCMORROW V. PPE CASINO RESORTS MARYLAND LLC
U.S. District Court in Baltimore
1:13-cv-02283-GLR; 1:13-cv-02282-GLR; 1:13-cv-02281-GLR
George Levi Russell III
Settlement; terms not disclosed.
Incident: varying times throughout 2012 and 2013
Suits filed: August 6, 2013
Settlements: November 19, 2013
Richard Neuworth of Lebau & Neuworth LLC in Baltimore.
Robert G. Ames of Venable LLP in Washington, D.C.
One count of failure to pay overtime compensation under Maryland Wage and Hour Law; one count of overtime/willful violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act.