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How to Survive a Motion to Dismiss in a Civil RICO Case


Through a civil RICO lawsuit, you can hold another party responsible for losses related to an organized fraud scheme. There is a lot at stake in these cases: Under Florida’s RICO statute, a plaintiff can recover for up to three times the amount of their actual financial losses. Bringing a successful RICO claim is never easy. Generally, defendants move aggressively to get these cases dismissed as early on in the process as possible. Here, our Miami RICO claims lawyers explain the key things you need to know about surviving a motion to dismiss in a civil RICO lawsuit.

Motion to Dismiss and Civil RICO Lawsuits

As explained by the Cornell Legal Information Institute, a motion to dismiss is a formal request for a court to throw out a complaint. It is one of the most valuable tools that a civil defense attorney has—especially in civil RICO lawsuits. A lawsuit can be dismissed on the grounds that the initial complaint “failed  to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” This type of motion to dismiss is often used to defend civil RICO lawsuits. The pleading requirements for RICO are so complicated and so technical that a minor defect with the initial complaint could result in a claim being thrown out by the court.

A Comprehensive, Well-Supported Complaint Helps to Avoid Early challenges 

To survive a motion to dismiss, your complaint must include allegations that, if proven true, would constitute a RICO violation. Here are two key issues that you must address when filing a civil RICO complaint in Florida:

  1. Pattern of Racketeering Activity: Courts are clear: A RICO violation is more than so-called “garden variety” fraud. There must be a pattern of racketeering activity. In other words, the defendant must engage in some form of sustained, related misconduct. If you do not allege a pattern of racketeering activity, your RICO lawsuit will be dismissed.
  2. Fraud as a Part of an Enterprise: Additionally, the fraud must have occurred as part of an “enterprise.” Put another way, there must be some form of organized relationship between the defendant(s) whereby they carried out the fraud scheme. Without an enterprise, there is no RICO violation. If a complaint does not properly allege the existence of a RICO enterprise, it will be dismissed by the court.

If you are filing a civil RICO lawsuit in Florida, you should expect to face an early challenge in the form of a motion to dismiss. To bring a successful claim, it is imperative that you present a strong, well-supported initial civil RICO complaint. 

Call Our Florida Civil RICO Claims Attorney for Professional Help

At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our Florida business lawyers have the specialized skills and experience needed to handle complex civil RICO claims. If you have any questions about motions to dismiss and civil RICO lawsuits, we are here as a resource. Get in touch with us now for a completely confidential, no obligation initial consultation. From our law offices Miami and West Palm Beach, we represent clients throughout Florida.



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