Gambling ship operators face lawsuits by former employees

Three federal employment lawsuits have been filed on behalf of 80 former employees of gambling ship operators that curtailed sailing amid heightened competition from tribal casinos.

Plaintiffs’ attorney Peter Valori, of Miami’s Damian & Valori LLP, obtained an overall settlement of more than USD 23,000 in representing 11 former employees of Party Line Cruise Co., according to a defendant’s court filing.

Current suits are filed against three companies:

  • Miami Star Casino LLC and Massachusetts-based parent Horizons Edge Casino Cruises LLC. The suit claimed plaintiffs were terminated from the Horizon Star, operating out of Miami’s Bayside Marketplace, without the proper 60-days warning required under the federal WARN Act, which requires advance notice of major layoffs.

The GM at the Massachusetts corporate office could not be reached for comment by deadline.

  • Aquasino LLC and cruise ship manager Diego Ardid, VP of SoBe A Inc. The suit alleges the defendants did not pay minimum wage, did not maintain and preserve hours worked records, and conducted an improper tip pool by allowing managers to participate in it. Aquasino attorney York Flick, of Coral Gables-based Allen Norton & Blue LLP, said in an e-mail that “the claims raised are without merit and we intend to vigorously defend this matter.”
  • Sterling Casino Lines, L.P., Sextant Sterling 1, Inc., and John Brevick. The suit alleges that Sterling operated the Ambassador II from Port Canaveral and failed to give 60 days’ notice of termination – as required by WARN – to the about 500 terminated workers. Additionally, it charges that minimum wage and overtime wages were not paid and asks for class action status.

A notice on the cruise ship’s Web site said it had lost its lease at the port and is looking to relocate. A spokeswoman at its Cape Canaveral headquarters said there would be no comment on anything.