The opinion of the court was delivered by: Jeanne E. Scott, U.S. District Judge.
This matter comes before the Court on Defendants' Motions to Dismiss
Plaintiffs' Amended Complaint (d/e 15, d/e 19, d/e 21). Defendants moved
to dismiss the Amended Complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure. The Amended Complaint claims that Defendants
engaged in racketeering activities in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1961
et. seq. Plaintiffs in this case include Titan International, Inc., Titan
Tire Corporation, and Titan Tire Corporation of Natchez.
These Plaintiffs engage in the business of manufacturing off-highw ay
tires. Plaintiff Titan Wheel Corporation of Illinois manufacturers
off-highway wheels. Defendants include the United Steelworkers of America
(USWA), USWA Districts 1, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12, USWA Local 164, USWA
Local 303, and USWA Titan International Council (USWA's Titan Council),
which Plaintiffs allege encompasses each of the aforementioned groups,
and various individual officers and members of the USWA (hereinafter
Individual Defendants). For the reasons stated below, Defendants' Motions
to Dismiss are DENIED.
Plaintiffs allege that Defendants participated in racketeering
activities in violation of the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt
Organizations Act (RICO). 18 U .S.C. § 1961 et. seq. Plaintiffs
allege that each racketeering activity was " participated in,
authorized, or ratified" by one or more Defendants, and that each
Defendant was a member of one or more enterprises. Am. Compl. ¶ 76.
Plaintiffs allege four enterprises in the Amended Complaint:
Steelworkers Enterprise, Steelworkers Pension Enterprise, Titan Tire
Enterprise, and Titan Tire of Natchez Enterprise.
1. Steelworkers Enterprise
The first enterprise referenced in the Amended Complaint is the
"Steelworkers Enterprise." In the Amended Complaint, each Defendant is
included as a member of this enterprise, but Plaintiffs also allege that
the enterprise included parties unaware of Defendants' actions. Am.
Compl. ¶ 79. Plaintiffs state that this enterprise is an
association-in-fact enterprise.*fn1 Plaintiffs claim that this
enterprise had the legitimate purpose of engaging in labor negotiations
for workers, but that Defendants simultaneously used this enterprise "to
further their illegitimate purpose of extorting money and property from
Titan." Am. Compl. ¶ 78.
Plaintiffs stated that this enterprise will continue indefinitely. Am.
Compl. ¶ 85.
2. Steelworkers Pension Enterprise
The second enterprise referenced by Plaintiffs is the "Steelworkers
Pension Enterprise." Am. Compl. ¶ 87. Plaintiffs state that all
Defendants, as well as the non-party Steelworkers Pension Trust, were
members of this enterprise. Plaintiffs state that this is also an
association-in-fact enterprise. Plaintiffs allege that the legitimate
purpose of Steelworkers Pension Enterprise was to provide cost-effective
and qualified pension plans for Steelworker members, retirees, and their
family members. However, Plaintiffs claim that this enterprise conspired
to extort money from them. Am. Compl. ¶ 87. Plaintiffs allege that
because the Steelworkers Pension Enterprise engaged in legitimate, as
well as illegitimate activities, it qualifies as an enterprise separate a
nd apart from a pattern of racketeering activity. Am. Compl. ¶ 94.
Plaintiffs allege that this enterprise will continue into the future.
Am. Compl. ¶ 95.
The third alleged enterprise is referred to in the Amended Complaint as
the "Titan Tire Enterprise." Am. Compl. ¶ 97. This alleged enterprise
consists of Titan Tire Corporation.
Plaintiffs state that Defendants conspired to maintain an interest in
or control of this enterprise through "a pattern of racketeering
activity." Am. Compl. 697.
4. Titan Tire of Natchez Enterprise
The fourth enterprise alleged is the " Titan Tire of Natchez
Enterprise" consisting solely of Titan Tire Corporation of Natchez.
Plaintiffs state that Defendants also conspired to acquire or maintain an
interest in or control of the Titan Tire of Natchez Enterprise through a
pattern of racketeering activity. Am. Compl. ¶ 98.
B. Plaintiffs' Allegations of Extortion
(a) lifetime medical benefits for all retired Titan
employees who were members of the USWA, which would
have cost Titan millions of dollars;
(b) unfreezing the pension plan of Titan's predecessor
at the Des Moines facility or, in the alternative,
substantial contributions by Titan to the Steelworkers
(c) an increase in wages for those Titan employees who
were represented by the USWA;
(d) Titan's express agreement that it be neutral with
respect to the USWA's attempts to represent the
employees at those Titan facilities that were not
unionized and whose employees were not represented by
(e) dues from USWA members or prospective USWA members
employed by Titan.
Defendants implemented the extortion by "making numerous bomb threats,
committing numerous acts of physical violence and property damage, filing
and prosecuting numerous frivolous and objectively baseless workers'
compensation claims, and unlawfully interfering with Titan's existing and
prospective business relations." Am. Compl. ¶ 2. Plaintiffs state that
each Defendant knowingly "participated in, authorized, or ratified the
racketeering activity." Am. Compl. ¶ 103.
Plaintiffs allege that Defendants made bomb threats to Titan*fn2
facilities in: Quincy, Illinois; Des Moines, Iowa; and Natchez,
Mississippi. Bomb threats were received on twelve separate occasions, and
no Titan facility received a bomb threat before the strikes by Defendants
began. Am. Compl. ¶ 105. Plaintiffs state that each time a Titan
facility received a bomb threat, that facility was forced to evacuate
employees and shut down ...