Legal Memorandum: Elements of a RICO Civil Claim

Issue: What does a plaintiff need to establish to succeed in a RICO civil claim?

Area of Law: Criminal Law, Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: RICO civil claim; Racketeering activity
Jurisdiction: Federal, Florida
Cited Cases: 116 F.3d 1364; 482 F.3d 1309; 119 F.3d 935; 353 F.3d 912; 372 F.3d 1250; 492 U.S. 229; 17 F.3d 1386; 921 F.2d 1465; 556 U.S. 938; 209 F. Supp. 2d 1270; 507 U.S. 170; 473 U.S. 479; 165 F. Supp. 2d 514
Cited Statutes: 18 U.S.C. §§ 1962 and ; 18 U.S.C. § 1962(c); 18 U.S.C. § 1962(d); 18 U.S.C. § 1964(c); 18 U.S.C. § 1961(1); 18 U.S.C. § 1341; 18 U.S.C. § 1343; Fed. R. Civ. P. 9(b)
Date: 03/01/2012

The relevant federal RICO statutes include 18 U.S.C. §§ 1962 and 1964:

It shall be unlawful for any person employed by or associated with any enterprise engaged in, or the activities of which affect, interstate . . . commerce, to conduct or participate, directly or indirectly, in the conduct of such enterprise’s affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity . . . .

18 U.S.C. § 1962(c).

It shall be unlawful for any person to conspire to violate any of the provisions of subsection (a), (b), or (c) of this section.

18 U.S.C. § 1962(d).

Any person injured in his business or property by reason of a violation of [18 U.S.C § 1962] may sue therefor in any appropriate United States district court and shall recover threefold the damages he sustains and the cost of the suit, including a reasonable attorney’s fee.

18 U.S.C. § 1964(c).

Based on the foregoing language, it is commonly stated that a plaintiff need establish only three elements to succeed in a RICO civil claim:

To prevail in a civil RICO action, a plaintiff must establish three elements: (1) that the defendant committed a violation of § 1962 by engaging in a “pattern of racketeering activity”; (2) that the plaintiff suffered an injury to business or property; and (3) that the plaintiff’s injury occurred “by reason of” the defendant’s commission of a predicate act and a causal connection exists between the commission of the predicate act and the plaintiff’s injury. […]

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