Commercial Litigation and Arbitration

RICO Standing Unaffected by Plaintiff’s Post-Injury Change of State of Incorporation — RICO Conspiracy Claim Contingent on Viable Substantive Claim

From Blythe Holdings, Inc. v. Flawless Fin. Corp., 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2727 (N.D. Ill. Jan. 15, 2009):

[Change of State of Incorporation.] …[Defendant] Coleman contends that Plaintiffs do not have standing pursuant to § 1962(c) to bring their RICO claims because of the six predicate acts upon which the RICO claims are based, four of them occurred before Blythe was incorporated in Nevada, and all of them occurred before Chicago 100 was incorporated in Illinois. Coleman fails to cite any legal authority to support this position. In their complaint, Plaintiffs allege that Blythe is a Nevada corporation, which originally was incorporated in Oregon and which currently has its principal place of business in California. Plaintiffs also allege that Chicago 100, Inc. was incorporated as the successor in interest to Blythe, pursuant to the advice of Defendants DeAngelis and Williams.

The Court is unaware of any authority, and Coleman has not provided any, for the proposition that Coleman asserts -- mainly, that Plaintiffs do not have standing to bring their RICO claims because Blythe "switched" its state of incorporation from Oregon to Nevada but did so after some of the alleged predicate acts occurred. "[P]erfunctory and undeveloped arguments, and arguments that are unsupported by pertinent authority, are waived * * *." United States v. Lanzotti, 205 F.3d 951, 957 (7th Cir. 2000). The Court does not have a duty to research and construct legal arguments available to a party (see Head Start Family Educ. Program, Inc. v. Coop Educ. Serv. Agency 11, 46 F.3d 629, 635 (7th Cir. 1995), and declines to do so in this instance.

[Viability of Conspiracy Claim Depends on Viability of Substantive RICO Claim.] If a plaintiff's RICO claim under § 1962(c) fails to plead a violation, the RICO conspiracy claim based on the same facts must fail as well. See Stachon v. United Consumers Club, Inc., 229 F.3d 673, 677 (7th Cir. 2000); see also Meier v. Musburger, 2008 WL 5135853, at *25 (N.D. Ill. Dec. 8, 2008) ("Since a pattern of racketeering activity is RICO's key requirement, an agreement to commit acts that do not constitute a pattern cannot be an agreement to violate RICO") (internal citations omitted). Thus, even if Plaintiffs can satisfy the pleading requirements for a conspiracy claim against Coleman, the Court must assess whether Plaintiffs have alleged a RICO claim under § 1962(c).

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