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