RICO Cases: An Overview

The federal RICO statute enables a plaintiff to present claims showing a deceptive scheme or other unlawful conduct. It provides various potentially strong remedies including the award of counsel fees and treble damages. Because of its many requirements and frequently narrow construction by courts, it is sometimes of limited utility, creating protracted litigation, rather than quick settlement or early judgment. There are pros and cons to RICO litigation. Since the potential problems are large, it is appropriate to start with them.

Pitfalls

1. Judges frequently don’t like it particularly if that is the basis for federal jurisdiction. You do not want to start off on the wrong foot.

2. Overestimating settlement value You may simply give the defendant’s attorney an opportunity to file multiple motions to dismiss rather than target the offending conduct. A magistrate can even hold up the case while a motion to dismiss or jurisdictional challenge is evaluated.

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