Airbnb And San Francisco Law Firm Facing Civil RICO Lawsuit In California
As of this writing, Airbnb and Sacks Ricketts Case LLP (a San Francisco based law firm) are facing a civil RICO lawsuit in a California federal court. The lawsuit stems from a business dispute involving the vacation rental company and its law firm with a local business owner. In this article, our Miami RICO claims lawyers discuss the allegations raised against Airbnb and the San Francisco based law firm.
Business Owner Alleges Airbnb and Its Law Firm Conspired to Damage Business
A California business owner named Veronica McCluskey allegedly had her Airbnb account terminated by the company. In a 2019 lawsuit, she sought compensation for intentional infliction of emotional distress and other damages from employees of Airbnb. Ms. McCluskey alleges that Airbnb employees took improper action against her after she accused the company of allowing a “Superhost” in Southern California to engage in drug trafficking. The original plaintiff (and her attorney) are now accusing Airbnb and its law firm of engaging in racketeering activity. Among other things, they allege that the defendants conspired to cause damage to her business.
Proving a Civil RICO Violation: A High Bar to Meet for Plaintiffs
Civil RICO cases are notoriously complex. A plaintiff can file a civil RICO claim under both federal law and Florida law to seek compensation for losses caused by racketeering activity. Racketeering is broadly defined as dishonest and/or fraudulent dealings in business or commerce. However, courts have repeatedly found that a RICO violation is a level beyond ordinary fraud. An individual, business, or organization can commit fraud or another civil violation without violating a federal or state RICO statute. To prove a RICO violation, a plaintiff must be able to establish the following:
- Actual financial harm was sustained because of racketeering activity on the part of the defendant(s);
- The defendants formed an enterprise—formally or informally—in order to carry out the racketeering activity; and
- There was a pattern of racketeering activity, in which similar conduct/fraud occurred.
If a plaintiff in a federal or state civil RICO lawsuit fails to satisfy any of the three aforementioned elements, then their claim is likely to be dismissed outright. As civil RICO laws allow for the recovery of treble damages (three times a claimant’s actual damages), this type of lawsuit can be a powerful remedy. Still, proving a civil RICO violation is challenging. Comprehensive supporting evidence is required.
Schedule a Confidential Consultation With a Civil RICO Lawyer in South Florida
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our civil RICO attorneys possess the professional skills and expertise that you can trust in a complex dispute. Our firm has experience working with both plaintiffs and defendants in commercial litigation. If you want more information about state or federal civil RICO claims, we can help. To arrange a fully private consultation with an experienced attorney, please contact us today. Our firm represents clients in Miami, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and beyond.