Magazine article HRMagazine

Deprivation of Workers' Compensation Benefits Violates RICO

Magazine article HRMagazine

Deprivation of Workers' Compensation Benefits Violates RICO

Article excerpt

Brown v. Cassens Transport Co., 6th Cir., No. 10-2334 (April 6, 2012).

An expected entitlement to workers' compensation benefits qualifies as property, as does the claim for such benefits, and injury to such property can violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), according to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Paul Brown was injured allegedly while performing work-related tasks for his employer, Cassens Transport Co., and sought workers' compensation benefits under Michigan's workers' compensation law. Cassens was self-insured and contracted with Crawford & Co., a claims adjudicator, to resolve workers' compensation claims. When Crawford denied Brown's benefits, Brown alleged that the denial was fraudulent and violated the federal anti-racketeering law.

RICO makes it a crime for any person associated with an "enterprise" engaged in interstate commerce to participate in the enterprise's affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity. The act defines "racketeering activity" to include acts relating to mail fraud and wire fraud. An enterprise is described as "a group of persons associated together for a common purpose of engaging in a course of conduct."

The alleged enterprise here consisted of Cassens, Crawford and Dr. …

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