Court of Appeals Suggests Plaintiffs Alleging RICO “Conspiracy” must show Domestic US Injury

The World in U.S. Courts: Spring 2017 - Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO)

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Domanus v. Locke Lord LLP, US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, January 31, 2017

The US Supreme Court’s 2016 decision in RJR Nabisco v. European Community established that plaintiffs pressing the private RICO claim most commonly brought—under 18 USC § 1962(c) for injuries resulting from use of a “pattern of racketeering activity” to conduct the affairs of an “enterprise—must allege a US “domestic injury.” The Court left open the question whether a similar requirement applied to a claim under 18 USC § 1962(d) that the defendants conspired to violate RICO. The Court of Appeals in Chicago found no need to decide this issue definitively in the case at bar, but suggested following a review of the RJR Nabisco decision that plaintiffs alleging only a non-US injury would face an “uphill battle” in alleging a RICO conspiracy claim.

[Editor’s note: The “domestic injury” requirement for a private right of action for violations of § 1962(d) was recently the subject of an article by editors of The World in US Courts, and may be found here. The article points out that none of the cases that had then sought to interpret the RJR Nabisco “domestic injury” requirement appeared to follow the methodology required by that case. Domanus adds to that record.]

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