Advocates for Labor and Progressive Institutions

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District Court Dismisses RICO Suit Against AFL-CIO Building Trades Department

December 2012

The Building Trades Department of the AFL-CIO and several union officials have succeeded in obtaining a complete dismissal, on the merits, of all claims in a suit filed against them in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington.

The suit, brought by the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners (“UBC”), claimed that the defendants had violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”) through actions aimed at applying economic pressure against the UBC, which is not a member of the Building Trades Department.  The defendants, all collectively represented by Bredhoff & Kaiser, succeeded in arguing that the plaintiffs had failed to satisfy the elements of any of the RICO claims alleged, which, among other things, require a showing of (1) a predicate crime; (2) linked to the losses claimed; and (3) attributable to the agency of the defendants.  The District Court held that no predicate crime harming the plaintiffs could be attributed to any of the defendants.