Enacted as Title IX of the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (commonly known by the appellation "RICO" or "The RICO Act") was the end product of a lengthy legislative effort to develop new legal remedies to deal with the problem of organized crime. In recent years, however, the statute has become the focus of controversy as plaintiffs, compelled by the possibility of winning treble damages and attorney's fees, have sought to apply the civil remedies provision of the Act to all types of cases, including those involving what might be termed "garden variety" business fraud. The civil damages provision of the RICO Act has been the subject of much legal commentary. Unfortunately, previous articles have generally provided the practitioner with little guidance regarding some of the practical aspects of civil RICO litigation, i.e., how to determine when your client has a civil RICO claim, where and when to file the action and, most importantly, how (and hopefully how not) to try a civil RICO case. The purpose of this article is to set forth some approaches to these practical problems.
William Woodward Webb and Kevin P. Roddy, Some Practical Implications of Civil RICO Cases, 7 Campbell L. Rev. 299 (1985).