RICO and the church
EDarr1776 at AOL.COM
EDarr1776 at AOL.COM
Sat Mar 23 17:41:04 PST 2002
In a message dated 3/23/2002 3:52:21 PM Central Standard Time,
RichardsE at UMKC.EDU writes:
> > RICO has no scienter requirements. This will be interesting.
> But RICO does have a criminal enterprise requirement that could be
> difficult to establish in some circuits. There were news reports that RICO
> did not have a statute of limitations. I think it only extends back 10
> years, but I will defer to anyone who has looked at RICO lately. The BIG
> problem for plaintiff's under RICO is that you cannot get damages for
> personal injuries. This has been the problem in the health care RICO cases
> against the HMOs. RICO does trump ERISA, but damages are limited to claims
> that patients were cheated of their premiums by substandard care. In the
> church context, I am not sure where I see any damages under RICO.
My recollection (chiefly from the markup sessions in the Labor Committee, but
I think there is at least one case on the topic) is that the criminal
enterprise need not be one that a corporate entity intends to be criminal.
For example, if a mortgage company goofs in math and overcharges 100,000
mortgagees $10 a year, and then doesn't fix it, the RICO statute applies even
though the company had not intended to violate the law.
I don't have access to Westlaw at the moment, so I can't look up the cases.
If my memory has failed me, or if there have been counter decisions, I hope
someone can check it.
Again this is faded memory, but as I recall one senator discussing whether
criminal intent was required, the idea is that damage to people is the same
regardless. 'If a corporation acts like the mob, they should stand for
punishment like the mob,' is the way I recall it being explained. And so
there is no specific requirement that criminal intent be shown -- only that
the effect is the same. That would deprive a church from a defense that
their keeping quiet on child abuse problems was intended to protect either
the victims or the perpetrators. If the actions had the effect of keeping
the perpetrators from punishment, RICO might well apply.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the Religionlaw