CEDRIC KUSHNER PROMOTIONS v. KING

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
00-549
Petitioner 
Cedric Kushner Promotions
Respondent 
King
Advocates
(Argued the cause for the petitioner)
(Department of Justice, for United States, as amicus curiae, supporting petitioner)
(Argued the cause for the respondents)
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Facts of the Case 

Cedric Kushner Promotions, Ltd., a corporate promoter of boxing matches, sued Don King, the president and sole shareholder of a rival corporation, alleging that King had conducted his corporation's affairs in violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). RICO makes it "unlawful for any person employed by or associated with any enterprise...to conduct or participate...in the conduct of such enterprise's affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity." The District Court dismissed the complaint. In affirming, the Court of Appeals held that RICO applies only where a plaintiff shows the existence of two separate entities, a "person" and a distinct "enterprise," the affairs of which that "person" improperly conducts. The court concluded that King was part of the corporation, not a "person," distinct from the "enterprise," who allegedly improperly conducted the "enterprise's affairs."

Question 

Are Don King and his corporation a distinct "person" and "enterprise," such that RICO applies?

Conclusion 
Decision: 9 votes for King, 0 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations

Yes. In a unanimous opinion delivered by Justice Stephen G. Breyer, the Court held that "the need for two distinct entities is satisfied; hence, the RICO provision...applies when a corporate employee unlawfully conducts the affairs of the corporation of which he is the sole owner -- whether he conducts those affairs within the scope, or beyond the scope, of corporate authority." "The corporate owner/employee, a natural person, is distinct from the corporation itself, a legally different entity," wrote Justice Breyer. "A corporate employee who conducts the corporation's affairs through an unlawful RICO 'pattern...of activity,' uses that corporation as a 'vehicle' whether he is, or is not, its sole owner."

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CEDRIC KUSHNER PROMOTIONS v. KING. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 21 October 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2000/2000_00_549>.
CEDRIC KUSHNER PROMOTIONS v. KING, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2000/2000_00_549 (last visited October 21, 2014).
"CEDRIC KUSHNER PROMOTIONS v. KING," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed October 21, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2000/2000_00_549.