In recent years, companies have seen first-hand how civil conspiracy class actions have become “powerful weapons” for consumers alleging fraud in a variety of areas.
RICO, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, is not just for fighting organized crime. “Its civil component, which applies when people or companies allegedly organize to commit a fraud that they couldn’t pull off working alone, can also be a very effective anti-fraud device.”
Once a class is certified, the threat of treble damages and the stigma of “racketeering and conspiracy” are huge incentives for companies to settle these cases for “big dollar amounts.”
Pierce Atwood litigation partner Donald F. Frederico, who leads the firm’s class action practice, notes that, “if a plaintiff can overcome the hurdles of a motion to dismiss, class certification, and summary judgment, then certainly the idea that a RICO class action is going to go to trial would probably put the fear of God in a lot of companies and prompt a settlement.”
The complete article appeared in the September 25, 2018 edition of Bloomberg Law.