Legal Memorandum: Pleading Requirements in a RICO Action

Issue: Under federal law, what are the pleading requirements necessary to establish the ‘pattern’ of activity and continuity needed in a RICO action?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure, Personal Injury & Negligence
Keywords: Pattern requirement; Continuous requirement; RICO action
Jurisdiction: Federal, Florida
Cited Cases: 492 U.S. 229; 353 F.3d 912
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 11/01/2012

To meet the “pattern” requirement, a plaintiff must allege predicate acts that have been continuous.  Levitan v. Patti, No. 3:09cv321/MCR/MD, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34979 (N.D. Fla. Feb. 8, 2011).  The continuous requirement can be shown by a series of related acts committed over a substantial period of time.  Design Pallets, Inc. v. Gray Robinson P.A., 515 F. Supp. 2d 1246, 1256 (M.D. Fla. 2007); see also Anderson v. Smithfield Foods, Inc., 209 F. Supp. 2d 1270, 1276 (M.D. Fla. 2002) (finding continuity is satisfied by a closed period of repeated conduct or past conduct posing a future threat, but not by isolated events), aff’d by 353 F.3d 912 (11th Cir. 2003).  “The target of [RICO] is thus not sporadic activity. . .  It is this factor of continuity plus relationship which combines to produce a pattern.”  Sedima v. Imrex, 473 U.S. 479, 496 n.14 (1985); see also Wilson v. De Angelis, 156 F. Supp. 2d 1335, 1339-40 (S.D. Fla. 2001) (10-month period not too short). 

The Supreme Court has made clear that the “pattern” requirement should not be construed to require evidence of multiple criminal schemes.  H. J. Inc. v. Northwestern Bell Tel. Co., 492 U.S. 229, 236, 109 S. Ct. 2893, 2899, 106 L. Ed. 2d 195, 206 (1989).  “We find no support in those sources for the proposition, espoused by the Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in this case, that predicate acts of racketeering may form a pattern only when they […]

Subscribe to Litigation Pathfinder

To get the full-text of this Legal Memorandum ... and more!

(Month-to-month and annual subscriptions available)