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Unions' actions did not violate
Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) (2-1)

Care One v. United Healthcare Workers (3rd Cir 12/17/2021)
Sent to Custom Alerts™ subscribers on 12/28/2021

Employers who operate nursing homes sued a group of unions alleging a pattern of racketeering in violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, claiming their actions were "extortionate." The 3rd Circuit (2-1) upheld summary judgment for the unions.

The court held that no reasonable juror could conclude that the vandalism underlying the employers' claims could be attributed to union members, much less the unions themselves.

It also concluded that other actions the unions undertook to exert pressure on the employers – including advertisements, picketing, and attempts to invoke regulatory and legislative processes – were not "extortionate."

The court further concluded that the unions lacked the specific intent to deceive and, therefore, were entitled to summary judgment on the employers' mail and wire fraud claims.

On the night before a strike was to begin, some facilities were vandalized and sabotaged. Patient identifying information was mixed up, medical records were altered, medical equipment was damaged or hidden, and laundry equipment was vandalized. An investigation by the State's Attorney yielded neither suspects nor charges. The court said a union cannot be held liable for the actions of its members absent "clear proof of actual participation in, or actual authorization of, such acts, or of ratification of such acts after actual knowledge thereof."

The court also concluded that employing pressure campaigns, regulatory processes, and the criminal justice system does not subject the unions to liability.

The DISSENT argued that there is enough evidence to allow a jury to consider whether the unions threatened a campaign of regulatory opposition and criminal prosecution, a campaign with no proper nexus to their labor negotiations, and whether they authorized or ratified acts of sabotage.

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