Civil RICO Lawsuit Brought Against HomeAdvisor
According to reporting from PR Newswire, a class action civil RICO lawsuit has been brought against IAC/InteractiveCorp and its subsidiary company HomeAdvisor. HomeAdvisor is a web based company that helps to match homeowners with contractors and other home service companies.
HomeAdvisor not only provides a directory of local companies that offer home-related services, but the company also provides a system which allows for reviews and ratings of these local companies. Operating as a middleman, HomeAdvisor claims that it provides benefits to both contractors and homeowners by making the matching process far more efficient. However, the lawsuit, which was filed on the behalf of several thousand home service professionals, alleges that the company has been engaging in serious violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.
Understanding the Allegations Against HomeAdvisor
Many different types of professionals list their services on the HomeAdvisor platform. In fact, HomeAdvisor has more than one hundred different home services categories on its websites. The categories include everything from common tasks like plumbing and painting to rarer tasks like solar panel installation and gazebo construction. For the companies listing their service on the site, HomeAdvisor offers some benefits. For example, for a fee, HomeAdvisor provides leads for contractors. These leads are advertised as:
- Industry targeted;
- Serious; and
- From project-ready property owners.
Though, according to the allegations from the plaintiffs, these supposedly qualified leads are nothing of the sort. Instead, they are incredibly flimsy leads that are generated from things like ‘free sweepstakes’. The complaint contends that the leads are rarely even vetted by HomeAdvisor. Indeed, some contractors reported that they were even given ‘leads’ for properties that were vacant. In other cases, the homeowners listed in the leads had never even heard of HomeAdvisor. If the allegations are proven to be true, HomeAdvisor, and its parent companies, may be guilty of RICO Act violations.
What are the Elements of a Civil RICO Claim in Florida?
Florida RICO claims are notoriously complex. In order to recover damages or to seek injunctive relief, a RICO plaintiff must be able to prove the following:
- An enterprise existed;
- The enterprise was engaged in a commercial activity;and
- There was a pattern of racketeering activity.
In practice, proving each one of these legal elements is a challenging process. Often, violating businesses and organizations go to great lengths to cover up their unlawful conduct. Prevailing in a civil RICO action takes diligent investigative efforts by a qualified attorney. If you believe that your business has been the victim of racketeering activity, it is imperative that you get your case in the hands of your attorney immediately. Time is of the essence in RICO cases. Let your attorney review your case as he or she will be able to determine exactly what steps must be taken to protect the interests of you and your business.
Contact Our West Palm Beach Office Today
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our Florida business law attorneys have extensive experience handling all sides of civil RICO claims. If you or your company is involved in a RICO lawsuit, please call our team today at (561) 291-8298 to set up your free case evaluation. We proudly serve businesses throughout southern Florida, including in Boca Raton, Coral Springs and Oakland Park.