Civil Remedies

Persons injured by reasons of a RICO violation have a civil cause of action under the terms of the act. 18 U.S.C. §§ 1962(c), 1964(c)) provides for liability in civil suits brought by any person injured ‘in his business or property’ by a RICO violation, with a compulsory award of treble damages, costs, and attorneys fees and makes it unlawful for ‘any person’ who is employed by or associated with ‘any enterprise’ affecting interstate commerce to ‘participate, directly or indirectly, in the conduct of such enterprise’s affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity.  Section 1964(c) requires “a RICO plaintiff to make two related but analytically distinct threshold showings . . .: (1) that the plaintiff suffered an injury to business or property; and (2) that the plaintiff’s injury was proximately caused by the defendant’s violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1962.”  However, a showing of injury requires proof of a concrete financial loss and not mere injury to a valuable intangible property interest.  Moreover, the defendant need not be criminally convicted before a civil plaintiff can sue for treble damages under RICO.  The statute requires only that the criminal activities are “chargeable” or “indictable” under state or federal law, not that the defendant has already been charged or indicted. 18 U.S.C. § 1961(1).  However, there is one exception to this rule: civil RICO claims cannot be predicated on securities fraud violations unless the defendant has been criminally convicted of a securities fraud violation. 18 U.S.C. § 1964(c). Therefore, in essence, there are eight elements that a plaintiff must plead before availing himself of the enhanced damage and attorney fees provisions of the RICO Act: (1) that defendant (2) through commission of two of the enumerated predicate acts, (3) which constitute a “pattern” of (4) “racketeering activity,” (5) directly or indirectly participates in the conduct of (6) an “enterprise,” (7) the activities of which affect interstate or foreign commerce, and that (8) plaintiff was injured in his business or property by reason of such conduct.


Inside Civil Remedies