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Stripper shot on job to get new hearing to determine damages

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The quibbling continues over how much a South Carolina stripper should be compensated after being shot while on the job, with the state’s highest court on Wednesday ordering a new hearing in the woman’s case.

The decision comes two years after Supreme Court justices ruled that LeAndra Lewis was an employee of the club, not an independent contractor, a determination that meant she was entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.

Lewis was working as an exotic dancer at the Boom Boom Room Studio 54 in Columbia in 2008 when a stray bullet struck her in the abdomen during a fight. According to court records, Lewis suffered internal injuries, resulting in the loss of a kidney.

The club had argued Lewis was simply a contractor and wasn’t on its books as an employee. But, the court found in its initial ruling, the club chose Lewis’ dance music, required her to perform dances for certain customers, and barred Lewis from leaving work early without risk of a fine.

In that 2015 ruling, the high court left it to the Workers’ Compensation Commission to determine how much of a benefit Lewis should receive, an award ultimately set at $75 a week. The panel, according to justices, provided no documentation for how it arrived at that amount,

The court pointed out it wasn’t saying the amount had been too low or too high but rather that the commission’s order “was devoid of any specific and detailed findings of fact to substantiate the award.”

A phone listing for the club’s owners could not be found, and an attorney for the workers’ compensation panel didn’t immediately return a phone message seeking comment on the case.

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Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP. Read more of her work at https://apnews.com/search/meg%20kinnard.

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