Justia Animal / Dog Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in White Collar Crime
Cisneros v. Petland, Inc.
After plaintiff bought a puppy from Petland and the puppy died a week later, plaintiff filed suit under the civil provisions contained in the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), alleging that the puppy's death was the result of a nationwide racketeering conspiracy. Plaintiff alleged that defendants are involved in a conspiracy to sell sick puppies for premium prices and engaged in a campaign of obfuscation after the sale to aid Petland in avoiding its warranties.The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's RICO complaint for failure to state a claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). The court held that the complaint failed to plead facts that plausibly support the inference that defendants shared a common purpose to commit the massive fraud she alleges. Furthermore, plaintiff has failed to allege with particularity that each defendant engaged in a pattern of racketeering activity. The court also held that plaintiff adequately alleged in her complaint that the Class Action Fairness Act vested the district court with original jurisdiction over her Georgia RICO claim. Therefore, the court vacated the portion of the district court's order declining to exercise supplemental jurisdiction and remanded with instructions to dismiss plaintiff's state-law RICO claim with prejudice. View "Cisneros v. Petland, Inc." on Justia Law
United States v. Hughes
Hughes guides hunting parties, charging $1,600 to $2,600 per person for accommodations, meals, hunting stands, field dressing, and carcass-cleaning facilities. To hunt buck in Iowa, a hunter must have a “tag.” Non-residents must enter a lottery. Hughes gave his non-resident clients tags belonging to others. After they killed a buck, Hughes falsely reported to the Iowa DNR that the tag owner had killed the buck. The bucks were transported out of state. Hughes was indicted under the Lacey Act, 16 U.S.C. 3371, which prohibits selling in interstate commerce any wildlife taken in violation of state law. The value of the wildlife determines whether the offense is a felony or a misdemeanor. The court instructed the jury: you may, but are not required to, consider, the price the wildlife would bring if sold on the open market between a willing buyer and seller; the price a hunter would pay for the opportunity to participate in a hunt for the wildlife; or Iowa’s valuation of the wildlife in state prosecutions where such wildlife is unlawfully taken. The jury found that the market value of the wildlife exceeded $350. The district court sentenced Hughes to three years’ probation, $7,000 in fines, and $1,802.50 in restitution. The Eighth Circuit reversed; the jury was not properly instructed as to the meaning of “market value.” View "United States v. Hughes" on Justia Law