[JURIST] The US Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals [official website] in Atlanta has ruled [opinion, PDF] ruled that a plaintiff is permitted to bring a class-action lawsuit against a carpet manufacturer under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act of 1970 (RICO) [text]. The plaintiff claims that Mohawk Industries [corporate website] knowingly hired illegal aliens and assisted them in evading immigration officials and law enforcement, allowing it to reduce labor costs and to discourage workers' compensation claims in violation of state and federal RICO statutes. For civil liability to attach under RICO, the defendant must "conduct" or "participate in" affairs of a larger enterprise beyond its own internal affairs. The court held Wednesday that Mohawk's use of a third-party recruiter to hire and conceal illegal aliens satisfied the requirement in light of the US Supreme Court's decision [JURIST report] last term in Anza v. Ideal Steel Supply Corp.
The case [Duke Law case backgrounder] previously reached the Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] on an interlocutory appeal on the issue of whether the manufacturer qualified as an "enterprise" for purposes of RICO statutes. The court dismissed the petition for certiorari [order, PDF] as improvidently granted and remanded the case to the Eleventh Circuit, which originally affirmed [opinion, PDF] the district court's holding that the company constituted an "enterprise." AP has more.