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Civil RICO Claims in Florida: What to Know About Standing


Through a civil RICO lawsuit, a company, organization, or entity may be held legally liable for a pattern of fraudulent business practices. To bring a successful civil RICO claim in Florida, the plaintiff must prove a number of different elements, including:

  • Fraud occurred;
  • The defendant was part of an ‘enterprise’; and
  • There was a pattern of misconduct;

Though, the first step is always establishing standing. A Florida court will not even hear a civil RICO case unless a plaintiff can prove they have legal standing. In this article, our West Palm Beach RICO Claims attorneys explain what you need to know about civil RICO lawsuits and standing.

Civil Procedure in Florida: What is Standing? 

Standing is one of the most important elements of civil procedure in the American legal system. As simply defined by the Cornell Legal Information Institute, standing is the “capacity of a party to bring suit in court.” Put another way, it  determines who can and cannot file a lawsuit for an (alleged) violation.

Although the concept is relatively straightforward, the application is anything but that. There are often sharp disputes over who has the legal authority to bring a certain type of case. Over the years, a body of case law has developed to determine who has the necessary standing to bring certain lawsuits, including civil RICO claims. 

A Plaintiff Must Assert Injury By Reason of a RICO Violation 

You cannot file a civil RICO lawsuit unless you have legal standing to bring the claim. This raises an important question: How do you establish standing in a civil RICO case? Under Florida law, there are two key hurdles that a plaintiff must clear in order to have their civil RICO lawsuit heard by the court:

  1. They must assert an actual injury (financial damage) to business or property; and
  2. They must assert that the injury occurred because of a RICO violation.

In a legal complaint, sufficient allegations and facts must be provided to support a finding of standing. In its initial assessment of a civil RICO lawsuit, a Florida court will look to determine if there is a direct relationship between the alleged injury (financial harm) and the alleged misconduct of the defendant. In many cases, a defendant will attempt to get a RICO claim dismissed from court on the grounds of lack of standing. Most often, this is done by asserting that the plaintiff’s allegations are not direct enough to meet the legal requirements.

Call Our Florida RICO Claims Lawyers for Guidance and Support

At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our Florida RICO attorneys are skilled, results-oriented advocates for businesses and entrepreneurs. If you have any questions about civil RICO lawsuits and standing, we are prepared to help. Contact our legal team today for a confidential, no obligation consultation. From our West Palm Beach, Wellington and Miami offices, we handle RICO cases throughout the wider region, including in Fort Lauderdale, Miami Beach, Jupiter, Hialeah, Coral Gables, Boca Raton, and Boynton Beach.

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