The World in U.S. Courts: Summer 2013 - RICO
A Florida district court dismissed a RICO complaint with leave to amend, finding that plaintiffs failed to satisfy the heightened pleading standards required of all fraud claims. The court explained that plaintiffs had to satisfy the heightened pleading requirements under Federal Rule of Evidence 9(b) because RICO claims are essentially a type of fraud claim.
The parties in this case were competitors in the luggage-wrapping business. Plaintiffs, who won an exclusive contract to wrap luggage at Miami International Airport, alleged that defendants engaged in an unlawful, international scheme to retaliate against them for their success with the Miami airport bid. Although plaintiffs made several allegations—ranging from wire fraud, to defamation, to a conspiracy to initiate a malicious prosecution in Argentina—the complaint failed to allege a pattern of racketeering, and failed to allege even a single misrepresentation on which plaintiffs purportedly relied. The court was therefore unable to determine whether plaintiffs sought impermissible extraterritorial application of RICO, and defendants had insufficient notice of plaintiffs’ allegations.