fbpx
News
April 24, 2014

RICO Act Co-Author Weighs in on Cases Against Plaintiffs’ Firms

G. Robert Blakey, one of the co-authors of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, has weighed in regarding the use of the law “by corporations against plaintiffs attorneys who allegedly committed fraud during civil litigation against those companies, reports LegalNewsline.

Blakey, currently a professor at the University of Notre Dame Law School, filed an amicus brief in the high-profile RICO case filed by Chevron against plaintiffs’ attorneys who targeted the company over a case of alleged pollution in Ecuador.

That case resulted in an Ecuadorian court issuing a $19 billion judgment against Chevron. Chevron, however, obtained an injunction from U.S. District Court against the enforcement of that verdict, and filed the RICO suit against the plaintiffs’ firms in the case, claiming they “participated in extortion and criminal conspiracy under the RICO statute.”

Judge Lewis Kaplan, of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, issued a judgment that the $9.5 billion judgment against Chevron was the product of fraud and racketeering. One of the lead plaintiffs’ attorneys is currently seeking a stay of that ruling, pending appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

There are two additional high-profile cases of corporations filing civil RICO suits against plaintiffs’ attorneys: CSX has filed such a case in West Virginia federal court alleging a former Pittsburgh law firm teamed with a radiologist to fabricate asbestos claims: Garlock Sealing “is accusing four law firms of RICO violations” over the alleged withholding of asbestos exposure evidence by the plaintiffs’ attorneys.

“Society needs more than criminal proceedings to control organized criminal behavior,” writes Blakey. “Prosecutors and investigative agencies must also employ civil sanctions to reform corrupted institutions (e.g., unions, market institutions, industries).”

Cookie Notice

By clicking “I Accept”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.

Cookie Notice

By clicking “I Accept”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. Review Settings