ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) – A judge has denied a motion filed by the Buffalo Bills to have a lawsuit filed by five former Buffalo Jills cheerleaders dismissed.
The squad was suspended by its management company, Stejon Production Corporation, shortly after a lawsuit was filed against its owners and the Bills, accusing both of failing to pay them proper wages and subjecting them to humiliating situations, including a so-called “jiggle test.”
The Bills have leased out the Jills since 1986, however, the lawsuit alleges that the team still plays a role in managing and controlling the squad’s activities.
In a statement from Stephanie Mateczun, director of the Jills through Stejon Production Corporation, she said, “The Buffalo Bills own the trademark for the Jills; they control the field and everything that happens on that field, from the uniforms the cheerleaders wear to the dances they perform. Yet the organization appears content to attempt to wash their hands of any connection to their own cheerleading squad. The Buffalo Bills management operates a football team valued by some at nearly $900 million. If people believe they don’t maintain influence and control over every part of their operation, including their cheerleaders, they are mistaken.”
But in a statement released Wednesday, the Bills say Mateczun’s position is “inaccurate and misleading.”
“For decades the Buffalo Jills trademark has been licensed to independent third parties who have assumed the responsibility for the selection, management, training, scheduling and compensation of the cheerleaders. Today we responded to these allegations as part of the legal process and remain confident in our position in this matter.”
Mateczun and Stejon Production Corporation say they are disappointed by the “complete lack of accountability on the part of the Buffalo Bills organization.”