"Forging a New Use for Civil RICO"

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Despite a string of defeats before federal trial judges, Howard W. Foster has doggedly pressed on with a type of litigation he pioneered: using RICO to target companies that allegedly hire undocumented workers for the purpose of driving down wages...

[He's brought] five Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act suits since 1999, usually on behalf of employees with valid work authorization. Four were dismissed at an early stage by trial judges. But in three of those cases, Foster has persuaded federal appellate courts to reinstate his suits.

Last month, for instance, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals gave the green light to Foster's lawsuit against poultry giant Tyson Foods Inc. of Springdale, Ark. Trollinger v. Tyson Foods Inc., No. 02-6020.

In April, Foster won his first victory in a district court. Judge Harold Murphy of the Northern District of Georgia denied a motion to dismiss brought by Mohawk Industries Inc., a Calhoun, Ga., maker of rugs and carpets. Williams v. Mohawk Industries Inc., No. 04-CV-0003...

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Comments

It does cause corrupting associations for a company to become involved with these smuggling organizations. If one of the most important inputs to their operations is brought in by organized crime, the tendency is all towards making such companies become more like branches of racketeering.