A Summary of the RICO Law

Neal Marder has earned widespread recognition as a leading white-collar defense attorney with a focus on class action litigation and securities fraud cases. He has successfully defended numerous clients, including China-based corporations and individuals. Among his areas of practice, Marder has gained experience in cases involving the well-known RICO law.

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In 1970, the U.S. Congress passed the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, designed to fight the operations of alleged organized crime syndicates. The law permits prosecution, as well as the levying of civil penalties, for any type of racketeering operation conducted in the course of an ongoing set of criminal activities. The racketeering charges may stem from alleged involvement in counterfeiting, money laundering, bribery, unlawful gambling, and a variety of other actions.
Since its origins as a Mafia-fighting tool for law enforcement, RICO has broadened in practice to include prosecution of a number of non-organized crime operations and organizations, including motorcycle gangs, corporations accused of environmental pollution, and protest groups focused on social issues.
To obtain a RICO conviction, the government agency plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant was involved in at least two instances of racketeering activity and additionally maintained direct involvement in one or more criminal actions touching on foreign or domestic interstate commerce.

Companies Advised to Be Cautious in “Green” Product Descriptions

Winston & Strawn partner Neal Marder, an attorney with extensive experience defending groups against class action lawsuits, notes that “greenwashing” is an upcoming trend as more and more companies make false or misleading claims about their products’ environmental friendliness. As companies attempt to capitalize on consumers’ growing interest in earth-friendly products and services, Neal Marder advises businesses to be careful in choosing words and symbols to describe their products that will not mislead consumers and prompt a successful class-action lawsuit.

Two recent cases litigated in California illustrate the importance of properly representing a product’s “green” features. In Koh v. SC Johnson & Son, Inc., a judge concluded that a “seal of approval” label with a green background highlighting “Greenlist ingredients” on Windex products could lead a consumer to believe the cleaners were endorsed by a third party. The plaintiff has been certified for a class action lawsuit. In another case involving Fiji bottled water, a judge ruled that a plain “green drop” symbol on water bottles was not enough to suggest that an outside group approved the product’s environmentally friendly features.

Class Action Lawsuits and Out-of-Court Settlements

An accomplished attorney with many years of experience in commercial litigation and class action lawsuits, Neal Marder currently works as a partner in the Los Angeles office of Winston & Strawn. In November 2011, Neal Marder and several associates at Winston & Strawn published an article titled “Out-of-Court Settlement Programs Can Avert a Class Action,” which discusses the potential value of settling in a timely fashion.

In the article, Marder argues that a quick settlement dissuades the court from completing a class certification that would enable plaintiffs to seek significant damages on behalf of a large group of individuals. Additionally, a quick settlement represents an equitable out-of-court solution and has the potential to counter negative publicity and restore goodwill with the company’s customers. Although settlements often require defendants to incur a large lump sum cost, they eliminate the need for extended litigation fees and prove themselves highly cost-effective in the long run.

Law Seminars International Hosts 2013 Conference on Class Actions




On May 13th, legal professionals from across the country joined Law Seminars International (LSI) in Seattle for the two-day Comprehensive Conference on Class Actions and Other Aggregate Litigation. Themed “Practice Tips for Keeping Up With a Rapidly Changing Landscape,” the meeting covered class action trends across the United States, highlighted new Supreme Court cases, and discussed the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Attorneys, business executives, government officials, and consultants alike benefited from analysis of some of 2012’s most important class action developments. The program, which featured talks by such leading attorneys as Charles B. Casper and Timothy G. Fielden, provided 13.25 Washington Continuing Legal Education credits.

Neal Marder, a partner at Winston & Strawn’s Los Angeles offices, spoke at LSI’s Seventh Annual Comprehensive Conference on Litigating Class Actions in 2011. During this presentation, he lectured on how increased regulation, specifically through the Dodd Frank Act, could lead to increased rates of class action lawsuits. Named one of the Best Lawyers in America for six consecutive years, Neal Marder regular speaks at national conferences and hosts webinars and other educational events related to class action litigation.