Legal Memorandum: Proximate Cause, Direct Injury and Standing

Issue: What is necessary for a plaintiff to properly assert proximate cause, direct injury and standing against a county in the Southern District of Florida?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure, Municipal, County and Local Law
Keywords: Proximate cause; Direct injury; Standing
Jurisdiction: Federal, Florida
Cited Cases: None
Cited Statutes: § 1962(c)
Date: 11/01/2012

Bridge v. Phoenix Bond & Indem. Co., 553 U.S. 639 (2008) involved bidding for tax-foreclosed properties where the defendant had violated the county’s bidding rules by, in effect, using several dummy bidders who were in fact defendant’s agents.  The county ordinance prohibited the use of agents in bidding and each principal was permitted to submit only one bid—agents were ineligible.  This was important because by the nature of the bidding many bids were often identical and in such cases the winner was determined by lot from all bids that were the same.  Obviously, if a defendant violated the one-bidder rule he would have an improper advantage in the lottery by virtue of his controlling several identical bids.  In considering these facts the Court rejected defendants’ motion to dismiss and summarized plaintiff’s theory of the case as follows:

[Plaintiffs’] theory of the case is straightforward.  They allege that petitioners devised a scheme to defraud when they agreed to submit false attestations of compliance with the Single, Simultaneous Bidder Rule to the county.  In furtherance of this scheme, petitioners used the mail on numerous occasions to send the requisite notices to property owners.  Each of these mailings was an “act which is indictable” as mail fraud, and together they constituted a “pattern of racketeering activity.”  By conducting the affairs of their enterprise through this pattern of racketeering activity, petitioners violated § 1962(c).  As a result, respondents lost the opportunity to acquire valuable liens.  Accordingly, respondents were injured […]


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