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'DWTS' Pros Maks & Val Chmerkovskiy Fire Back At Ex-Dance Studio Employee in Court

By Ryan Naumann

“Dancing with The Stars” pros Maks & Val Chmerkovskiy are back in court fighting their ex-dance studio employee.

According to court documents obtained by The Blast, DWM Dance Studios, owned by Maks and Val, is taking steps to dismiss the countersuit filed by their former employee, Gregory Hightower.

The brothers deny all allegations of wrongdoing in Hightower’s complaint. They are asking a judge to not side with Hightower and allow their lawsuit against him to move forward. Maks and Val are represented by celebrity attorney, Matthew Blit.

A judge has yet to rule.

As The Blast first reported, Maksim and Val filed suit against their former employee, Gregory Hightower, in New York Court.

The duo accused Hightower of allegedly trying to steal clients away from them. The Chmerkovskiy bros co-founded and operate DWM Dance Studios along with fellow “Dancing With the Stars” pro Tony Dovolani.

In their suit, they accused Gregory Hightower of soliciting clients away from their studio for his own personal gain. They said Hightower was “diverting business away, along with conducting dance lessons” near their flagship studio in NYC.

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Maks & Val pointed out that each dance instructor is required to sign an agreement that prohibits them from soliciting DWM customers if they are no longer employed with the studio. Further, they cannot run a competing business within 10-miles of the studio.

The dancing brothers claim each instructor is required to sign an agreement that prohibits them from soliciting DWM customers if they are no longer employed with the studio and not to run a competing business within 10-miles of the studio.

They also accused Hightower of disparaging DWM and placing the studio in a negative light to potential clients. The “DWTS” pros claim they have already lost customers due to Hightower.

Maksim and Val sued for unspecified damages. Hightower counter-sued Maksim and Val asking a judge to find his employment agreement void.

He argued the deal he signed was not enforceable in New York. He called the provisions included unenforceable and denies allegations of wrongdoing.

The case is ongoing.


Maksim & Val Chmerkovskiy recently settled a separate lawsuit with another former employee, Klajdi Kasemi.

In the lawsuit, DWM Studios said Kasemi started working as an instructor with them in 2015. Per their deal, Kasemi was prohibited from giving dance lesson within a 10-miles of the studio. He was also not allowed to solicit clients away from DWM Dance Studios. Maks & Val accused him of breaking both rules and wanted him to pay up.

Earlier this month, the parties reached a deal to bring an end to the entire case. Maks & Val’s lawyer, Matthew Blit, told The Blast, "My clients were very pleased with the outcome of the case. DWM was successful in enforcing its agreement as the Court Order reads as follows: "the Court shall issue an injunction against Defendant Kesemi from soliciting and/or performing dance related services to its current or former customers.." Additionally, Mr. Kesemi's non-compete and non-solicit agreement were extended for an additional year past the date of the Court's Order, with additional Court ordered sanctions to be imposed for any future breach. Mr. Kesemi learned the hard way that agreements we make in life must be honored."

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