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Former Partners Face Off in Las Vegas Strip Club Suit

from – What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas . . . until an Am Law firm gets involved. Then, readers, it’s our duty to share the news with you.

The latest big-firm story out of Sin City involves Southern California resident Theodore Trapp, who hopped in a cab one night in January for a quick ride to the Play it Again, Sam gentlemen’s club. When he got to his destination, Trapp realized that the driver had taken him to the Spearmint Rhino instead.

In June, Trapp filed a class action suit against several Vegas cab companies and adult establishments, alleging that the reason for the misdirection is a scheme by strip clubs to pay kickbacks to cab drivers in return for bringing in customers.

An examination of the case’s docket reveals a who’s who of prominent firms, including Greenberg Traurig, which has bolstered its presence in Vegas for the past several years. The firm recently brought on a large group of seven partners in May from well-known Sin City shop Kummer Kaempfer Bonner Renshaw & Ferrario.

Two of those partners, Mark Ferrario and Brandon Roos, are representing the Sapphire Gentlemen’s Club. The club’s Web site touts itself as the “world’s largest gentlemen’s club,” featuring 70,000 square feet of . . . you know. (The Am Law Daily is in the throes of planning a bachelor party for our brother this weekend, which explains, in part, why this story caught our attention.)

Ferrario and Roos are facing off against their former Kummer Kaempfer partner James Smyth II, who is representing Trapp as local counsel in the case. Jay Edelson from Chicago’s KamberEdelson is serving as lead plaintiffs counsel.

With 26 named defendants, there’s room and work for plenty of defense firms, such as Snell & Wilmer and entertainment and First Amendment shop Weston, Garrau, Walters & Mooney.

Smyth says he’s unfazed at the prospect of facing off against his former Kummer Kaempfer colleagues in court. (The May departures left the firm with 13 partners.)

“I’ve faced off against Mark before–he used to be at another firm here and so was I,” Smyth says. “I also know Brandon pretty well, and they’re both very good attorneys.”

According to the 41-page complaint, plaintiffs claim the kickbacks hurt Las Vegas because cabbies are cruising the Strip looking for men to whisk away to gentlemen’s clubs, while visiting women and families looking for rides are stuck on the curb at their hotel or casino. The suit also claims that millions of tax dollars have gone unpaid to the local, state, and federal governments as a result of the kickback scheme.

The Las Vegas Sun reports that companies that own two other strip clubs–the Badda Bing Men’s Club and The Olympic Garden–plan to engage in settlement discussions with plaintiffs’ counsel.

Ferrario and Roos were out of the office and unavailable for immediate comment.


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