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Former Top Executive At LSU Filing State And Federal RICO Lawsuit Against University


According to a report from WBRZ 2 ABC, a former high-ranking executive employee at Louisiana State University (LSU) is filing a $50 million corruption lawsuit against the institution, her former bosses, and an area law firm. Among other things, she contends that LSU committed federal and state RICO violations. Here, our Miami RICO lawyers explain the allegations being raised in the lawsuit and provide an overview of civil RICO claims more generally.

Allegations: Corrupt Cover-Up of Sexual Harassment  

Louisiana State University has long had one of the most prominent college football programs in the entire country. Sharon Lewis, the plaintiff in the $50 million corruption lawsuit, is a former associate athletics director for the LSU football team. In 2013, sexual harassment allegations were raised that involved Les Miles. At that time, Mr. Miles was the head coach of the football team. The university retained a Baton Rouge law firm to handle the matter.

Ms. Lewis is now alleging that LSU, several high ranking executives, and the law firm engaged in a corruption scheme in order to cover up sexual misconduct within the football program. According to the lawsuit, complaints against Mr. Miles and some star athletes were concealed and not handled properly. Ms. Lewis is pursuing several causes of action, including an employment law claim before the EEOC, a federal Title IX gender discrimination claim, and state/federal civil RICO lawsuits. 

What is a Civil RICO Claim? 

Many people have a general familiarity with RICO laws. The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act is used by prosecutors to target criminal organizations. Far fewer people know that there are also civil RICO laws. A plaintiff can file a civil RICO lawsuit to hold defendants legally liable for damages caused by a corrupt organization. These claims are notoriously complex. In order to file a successful civil RICO lawsuit under Florida law or federal law, a plaintiff must prove that:

  • Defendants engaged in a substantive RICO violation—meaning there was a pattern of racketeering activity as part of an ‘enterprise’; and
  • Actual harm was suffered as a consequence of the civil RICO violation.

Although proving liability in a civil RICO claim can be challenging, there is also more on the line in these cases. A plaintiff who brings a successful civil RICO action may be entitled to treble damages. This means that they can recover financial compensation worth three times as much as their actual losses.

Contact Our South Florida Civil RICO Attorneys for Help

At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our Miami & West Palm Beach civil RICO lawyers are committed to delivering results for our clients. If you have questions about state or federal RICO lawsuits, we are here to provide reliable answers. Call us now or send us an email through our website to set up a confidential review and assessment of your case. We represent clients throughout all of South Florida, including in Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Broward, Monroe, and Martin counties.



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