Scruggs defendants file Rebuttal in support of Motion to Dismiss Young v Scruggs

The brief states, There is no magic language Plaintiffs can add to their pleadings to create a RICO cause of action. Believe me, there is also no magic language to make a discussion of law related to serving Richard Scruggs with process interesting reading. The rest, however, is interesting reading and an apt reminder that RICO is not something you just toss out to get your case in federal court.

Defendants Scruggs et al make three clear arguments for dismissing Plaintiffs’ RICO claims:

Plaintiffs have not pled “pattern of racketeering activity”.

First, Plaintiffs have not pled that the predicate acts occurred over a “substantial period of time”. Second, Plaintiffs have not pled that the predicate acts related to more than a single, otherwise lawful transaction.

In their Response, Plaintiffs try to skirt this fatal defect by arguing that Langston’s 2008 criminal confession establishes a “pattern of racketeering activity” extending from 2006 until his confession. However, Plaintiffs have not pled that Langston’s 2008 confession constituted a RICO predicate act. Furthermore, even Plaintiffs made such an allegation, Langston’s 2008 confession to earlier predicate acts fails to establish an independent predicate act. See 18 U.S.C. § 1961 (listing criminal acts constituting “racketeering activity”).

Plaintiffs also contend that their pleadings meet the continuity requirement due to a separate criminal matter involving Richard Scruggs. Opp. Brf., at 7-8. However, Plaintiffs have not pled that any acts (other than the withholding of discrete amounts during two quarterly payments) are part of the alleged pattern of racketeering activity. Second, Plaintiffs have no standing to rely upon a separate transaction to establish RICO continuity in this matter because they do not claim any involvement with or interest in the other transaction, which involved an attorney fee dispute over Hurricane Katrina litigation. Compl., at 7-8. Finally, Plaintiffs do not suggest that the “RICO enterprise” alleged to exist in this matter had any involvement in the other transaction.

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1/22/10