About | HeinOnline Law Journal Library | HeinOnline Law Journal Library | HeinOnline

71 Tenn. L. Rev. 365 (2003-2004)
Torts - RICO - Predicate Crime of Extortion Requires That the Defendant Obtain or Attempt to Obtain Property - Scheidler v. National Organization for Women, Inc.

handle is hein.journals/tenn71 and id is 391 raw text is: TORTS-RICO--PREDICATE CRIME OF EXTORTION
REQUIRES THAT THE DEFENDANT OBTAIN OR
ATTEMPT TO OBTAIN PROPERTY
Scheidler v. National Organization for Women, Inc.,
537 U.S. 393 (2003).
I. INTRODUCTION
The National Organization for Women (NOW) and two abortion clinics
sued the Pro-Life Action Network (PLAN), Joseph Scheidler, and several
other anti-abortion organizations for civil damages based on alleged criminal
violations of the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act
(RICO).' In this class action lawsuit, the plaintiffs alleged that PLAN
conspired with the other defendants as a racketeering enterprise to shut
down abortion clinics through acts of extortion.2 Plaintiffs claimed that these
acts violated the federal Hobbs Act,3 the federal Travel Act,4 and state
extortion law.' The United States District Court for the Northern District of
Illinois held that the defendants violated the civil provisions of RICO.6 The
district court awarded damages to the plaintiffs and issued a nationwide
injunction prohibiting [the defendants] from obstructing access to the clinics,
trespassing on clinic property, damaging clinic property, or using violence or
threats of violence against the clinics, their employees, or their patients.7
Holding that [a] loss to, or interference with the rights of, the victim is all that
is required for extortion, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh
Circuit affirmed the district court's ruling.8 The Seventh Circuit noted, [A]n
extortionist can violate the Hobbs Act without either seeking or receiving
I. Scheidler v. Nat'l Org. for Women, Inc., 537 U.S. 393, 397-98 (2003).
2. Id. at 398. NOW represent[ed] a certified class of all NOW members and non-
members of its organization [who] have used or would use the services of an abortion clinic in
the United States. Id. n.2. The two abortion clinics represented a class of all abortion clinics
in the United States. Id.
3. 18 U.S.C. § 1951 (2000).
4. 18 U.S.C. § 1952 (2000).
5. Scheidler, 537 U.S. at 399.
6. Id. The jury concluded that the defendants committed 21 violations of the Hobbs
Act[;] 25 violations of state extortion law; 25 instances of attempting or conspiring to commit
either federal or state extortion; 23 violations of the Travel Act[;] and 23 instances of attempting
to violate the Travel Act. Id. (citations omitted).
7. Id. Due to the failure of the plaintiffs' underlying claim, the Supreme Court refused
to review the district court's award of injunctive relief. Id. at 397.
8. Nat'l Org. for Women, Inc. v. Scheidler, 267 F.3d 687, 709 (7th Cir. 2001) (quoting
United States v. Stillo, 57 F.3d 553, 559 (7th Cir. 1995)).

What Is HeinOnline?

HeinOnline is a subscription-based resource containing nearly 3,000 academic and legal journals from inception; complete coverage of government documents such as U.S. Statutes at Large, U.S. Code, Federal Register, Code of Federal Regulations, U.S. Reports, and much more. Documents are image-based, fully searchable PDFs with the authority of print combined with the accessibility of a user-friendly and powerful database. For more information, request a quote or trial for your organization below.



Short-term subscription options include 24 hours, 48 hours, or 1 week to HeinOnline with pricing starting as low as $29.95

Contact us for annual subscription options:

Already a HeinOnline Subscriber?

profiles profiles most