Tenth Circuit Holds Corporate Shareholders Do Not Have Standing Under Rico To Sue Derivatively For Alleged Injuries To Corporation

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In Bixler v. Foster, No. 09-2138, 2010 WL 597477 (10th Cir. Feb. 22, 2010), the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a class action lawsuit brought by minority shareholders of Mineral Energy and Technology Corporation (“METCO”) against its directors and lawyers. Plaintiffs alleged that defendants violated the civil Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”), 18 U.S.C. §§ 1961-1968, for authorizing and facilitating the transfer of METCO’s assets to an Australian corporation. The Tenth Circuit held that, among other things, (1) plaintiffs lacked standing under RICO to assert shareholder derivative claims and (2) allegations of securities fraud did not establish predicate acts under RICO. This decision confirms that the civil RICO statutes generally are not available to shareholders and investors seeking redress for alleged ordinary corporate misconduct.

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