would be used in the operation of an enterprise which is engaged in
activities affecting interstate commerce. Am. Compl. ¶ 460.
Defendants point out that the majority of circuits require Plaintiffs
to demonstrate that the use or investment of racketeering income is the
proximate cause of the Plaintiffs' injury in order to state a claim under
§ 1962(a) or (b).*fn4 Defendants argue that Plaintiffs cannot state
a claim for such a violation because they have not shown that an injury
occurred as a result of Defendants' use or investment of income from
racketeering activities. Int'l Def's. Mem. in Sup. of Mot. to Dismiss p.
35-36; Individual Def's. Mem. in Sup. of Mot. to Dismiss p. 23-24.
However, Plaintiffs are not obligated to raise such an allegation because
they have not alleged a substantive violation of § 1962(a) or (b).
Instead, Plaintiffs have alleged that Defendants violated § 1962(d)
for conspiring to violate § 1962(a) or (b), therefore, Plaintiffs
must only allege the presence of an agreement and necessary predicate
activity. Am. Compl. 66 456-61. Plaintiffs have sufficiently alleged an
agreement to use or invest the income obtained by extortion. Therefore,
Plaintiffs have sufficiently alleged a conspiracy to violate §
3. Claim IV, Conspiring to Violate § 1962(b)
Plaintiffs also claim that Defendants conspired to violate §
1962(b) by agreeing to acquire or to control an interest in the Titan
Tire Enterprise and the Titan Tire of Natchez Enterprise. Am. Compl.
¶ 466. Plaintiffs contend that Defendants did this through numerous
racketeering acts and threats involving extortion. Am. Compl. ¶ 100.
Defendants argue that Plaintiffs have not properly stated a claim under
§ 1962(b) because they have not demonstrated that there w as an
agreement to "control" Plaintiffs' enterprise. Int'l Defs'. Mem. p.
38-40. To properly state a claim for a conspiracy to violate §
1962(b), Plaintiffs' allegations of Defendants' agreement to control or
participate in the enterprise need not rise to the level of formal
control. Sutliff, Inc. v. Donovan Cos., Inc., 727 F.2d 648, 653 (7th
Cir. 1984) (rev'd on other gds.). To allege sufficient control,
Plaintiffs must allege that Defendants agreed to manipulate Plaintiffs'
activities through predicate acts which would cause Plaintiffs to make
decisions it would not have otherwise made. Id. See also Ikuno v. Yip,
912 F.2d 306, 310 (9th Cir. 1990).
Plaintiffs have alleged that Defendants conspired to engage in
racketeering activities in an attempt to manipulate Plaintiffs' hiring
decisions, wage decisions and other decisions. Am. Compl. ¶ 102. In
examining the Amended Complaint in the light most favorable to
Plaintiffs, it adequately states a claim for a conspiracy to violate
C. Claim V, Tortious Interference with Prospective Business Relations
Plaintiffs claim that Defendants tortiously interfered with their
prospective business relations with banks, insurers, customers,
shareholders, employees, and independent contractors.
Am. Compl. ¶
399. Plaintiffs allege that this interference caused economic injury to
all Plaintiffs. Am. Compl. ¶ 470. To allege a tortious interference
with prospective business relations in Illinois, Plaintiffs must allege
that they had a reasonable expectation of entering into a valid business
relationship, that Defendants knew of Plaintiffs' interest, that the
Defendants purposefully interfered with such relationship, and that
damages resulted to Plaintiffs. Fellhauer v. City of Geneva,
568 N.E.2d 870, 877-78 (Ill. 1991). The elements for an interference with
prospective business relations are similar in Iowa and Mississippi. See
Burke v. Hawkeye Nat. Life Ins. Co., 474 N.W.2d 110, 114 (Iow a 1991);
see also Par Industries, Inc. v. Target Container Co., 708 So.2d 44, 48
(Miss. 1998). Plaintiffs have properly alleged the existence of such
relationships between Plaintiffs and third-party customers,
shareholders, dealers, and lenders. They have also alleged that each
Defendant knowingly participated in conduct to hurt the relationships
between Plaintiffs and third parties and that Plaintiffs suffered injury
because of these alleged actions. Therefore, Plaintiffs have properly
pled this claim.
D. Claim VI: Civil Conspiracy Claim
Plaintiffs have sufficiently alleged that Defendants engaged in a civil
conspiracy to interfere in Plaintiffs' prospective business relationships
with third parties. Plaintiffs alleged that Defendants entered into an
agreement to threaten and boycott third parties because of their
relationship with Plaintiffs, filed frivolous suits to affect Plaintiffs'
relationships with third parties, disseminated false information about
Plaintiffs to third parties, and engaged in acts of property damage
against employees and independent contractors. Am. Compl. ¶ 474. A
civil conspiracy for interference with business relationships is
actionable. Blivas & Page, Inc. v. Klein, 282 N.E.2d 210, 214
(Ill.App.Ct. 1972). Therefore, Plaintiffs have sufficiently pled this
civil conspiracy to state a claim.
Examining the Amended Complaint in the light most favorable to
Plaintiffs, the allegations are sufficient to state each claim alleged.
Therefore, Defendants' Motions to Dismiss (d/e 15, d/e 19, d/e 21) are
DENIED. Defendants are ordered to answer the Amended Complaint by
November 21, 2001.