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Howard Foster writes:
As you may remember, the Wall Street Journal devoted a third of its editorial page to attacking my cases against employers of illegal immigrants some months ago ("RICOing Immigrants" April 18, 2002). They were quite apprehensive about the impact of RICO litigation against their allies in the corporate world based upon my successful appeal in Commercial Cleaning Services v. Colin Service Systems, the nation`s first civil RICO case for employing illegal immigrants.
Now Mr. Gigot has more to worry about. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has adopted the Second Circuit`s reasoning and reversed the dismissal of Mendoza v. Zirkle Fruit Co., another RICO case. This one was a class action on behalf of all U.S. citizens who were employed by two Washington State apple orchards, on the theory that the orchards depressed their wage rates by employing illegal Mexican immigrants.
By reversing the dismissal, the Ninth Circuit (opinion authored by Republican appointee Judge Margaret McKeown) has opened the door to a great many U.S. citizens to sue their employers for wage depression under RICO—probably the most powerful weapon private citizens have to punish companies for employing illegals.
Expect more such lawsuits soon - and further expect the Sixth Circuit to reverse the dismissal of my case against Tyson Foods.
September 16, 2002