Canyon County v. Syngenta Seeds, Inc
This Judicial Watch lawsuit is on behalf of an Idaho county seeking to recover costs it has expended providing services to illegal aliens. Canyon County sued four large employers for knowingly hiring many illegal aliens who, during their employment, committed crimes in the County, thereby costing the County money for criminal justice services including incarcerating them in its jail. Many other of these illegal immigrants wrongfully obtained health and welfare services from the County. Overall, the County paid millions of dollars in services for these illegal immigrants in the four years prior to filing the action in 2005 pursuant to the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”). In 1996 Congress amended RICO to add certain immigration law offenses as RICO “predicate acts” (racketeering activity).The County’s lawsuit, filed in 2005, sought damages caused by the Respondents’ knowing employment of illegal immigrants. The district court, without permitting the County to take any discovery, dismissed the suit with prejudice, for failure to state a RICO claim, concluding that the damages the County sought to recover, the costs of providing municipal services, were not “business or property” within the meaning of 18 U.S.C. § 1964(c), RICO’s civil damages provision. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s conclusion.On behalf of Canyon County, Judicial Watch filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court on July 30, 2008, asking the Court to hear the case. Judicial Watch’s co-counsel is Howard W. Foster, a renowned RICO expert with the Chicago law firm, Johnson & Bell Ltd. The Court is being asked to review whether the Ninth Circuit erred in interpreting the phrase “business or property” in RICO so as to exclude the County’s costs of providing services and whether the County’s complaint adequately alleged an injury “proximately” caused by the Respondents’ RICO violations.A decision by the Supreme Court regarding whether it will review the case is expected in the Fall of 2008.
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