Worker's Comp Award to Exotic Dancer Upheld

October 10, 2007 ( - An exotic dancer injured while performing on a pole at a Fort Wayne, Indiana strip club won a legal battle this week when an Indiana appellate court upheld her worker's compensation award.

Chief JudgeJohn G. Baker, in an opinion written for the Indiana Court of Appeals, turned away efforts by owners of the Shangri-La West club to overturn the benefits award to dancer Angela Hobson.

Appellate judges sent the matter back to the state’s Worker’s Compensation Board to decide if Hobson was entitled to double payments due in part to the allegation that Shangri-La violated state law by not having worker’s compensation insurance.

Baker said the court had declined to reconsider the evidence from both sides, had upheld the original award, and had tacked on a 5% increase due to the passage of time.

After her December 2001 injury, Hobson has claimed she suffered neck pain and numbness and underwent surgery for a herniated disc in her cervical spine, according to court records. Hobson said she told her employer about her medical condition, but the company later contended officials knew nothing about her being injured.

The compensation board awarded her temporary total disability benefits and other compensation totaling more than $10,000 in 2006 and found that the club did not have a worker’s compensation policy and was not approved as a self-insurer.

In its appeal of the award, club owners contended the board mistakenly put more credibility in Hobson’s evidence than its own.

Dino Zurzolo, who owned the club at the time, said the lack of worker’s compensation insurance at the time was a temporary oversight due to a missed payment, according to an Associated Press news report.

The ruling is here .