Thursday, March 6, 2008

Another Labor RICO Suit

Cintas In what is becoming increasing prevalent in modern labor disputes, Cintas has filed a RICO suit against UNITE HERE, Teamsters, and Change To Win in the Southern District of New York.  The complaint alleges that the unions, in their attempt to get the employer to accept a neutrality and card check agreement, have engaged in an "extortion" campaign.  This campaign was said to consist of false attacks on the employer and involve unlawful racketeering and infringements on the employer's trademark.

This isn't the first RICO suit filed by Cintas or numerous other employers (such as Smithfield and Wakenhut).  Unions haven't been shy about using RICO either.  This, of course, touches on a problem with courts' extremely broad interpretation RICO.  However, I do wonder whether the Supreme Court's BE&K decision--which made is much more difficult for the NLRB to find that a lawsuit that was intended to harass the other party consisted of an unfair labor practice--has contributed to an increase in these suits.  I don't know whether there even has been an increase, but I suspect ithat f there isn't already, there will be soon.

Hat Tip:  Jason Walta

-JH

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» RICO in labor-management disputes from PointOfLaw Forum
As Jeffrey Hirsch notes at Workplace Law Blog, lawsuits invoking the racketeering statute are flying in both directions between management and unions these days, and not primarily arising from the sorts of abuses familiar to Mob historians as the "labo... [Read More]

Tracked on Mar 7, 2008 5:58:16 AM

» RICO in labor-management disputes from PointOfLaw Forum
As Jeffrey Hirsch notes at Workplace Law Blog, lawsuits invoking the racketeering statute are flying in both directions between management and unions these days, and not primarily arising from the sorts of abuses familiar to Mob historians as the "labo... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 5, 2010 11:53:57 AM

Comments

One of my friends helped coauthor a law review article concerning the error in what you term the 'extremely broad interpretation' courts have given to RICO. It has yet to be printed, but the abstract is available here: http://law.fordham.edu/ihtml/page3g_nob.ihtml?imac=1264&pubID=600&articleid=2358.

Posted by: Klerk | Mar 7, 2008 10:32:43 PM

Take anything Cintas does with a grain of salt. I litigated three Cintas/HERE suits while working as an NLRB trial attorney in Minneapolis and found their legal counsel to be more than a little over the top. In other words, just because they have advanced this theory I wouldn't assume that it is well developed or that they take it too seriously.

Posted by: Michael Duff | Mar 8, 2008 1:03:13 PM

Mr. Duff, your limited experience as a regional trial attorney does not condone disparaging comments. Moreover, you might wish to check as to which of several counsel your remarks are intended.

Posted by: JR | Mar 9, 2008 8:38:15 AM

Delete last. The comment was forwarded to request that you remove Mr. Duff's inappropriate comment. Thank you.

Posted by: JR | Mar 9, 2008 8:39:42 AM

Sir or Madame...I will not withhold my opinion - which is what was expressed - for you or anyone else. If you don't like it - nuts.

Posted by: Michael Duff | Mar 10, 2008 8:21:30 AM

JR should disclose that he's got a bit of a conflict of interest here. He either is or was representing Wackenhut in a RICO suit against SEIU that advances a similarly, um, let's call it "expansive" theory of liability.

Posted by: jay | Mar 13, 2008 6:22:24 AM

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