If you ask Carter Phillips how his client, Mohawk Industries, ended up before the U.S. Supreme Court arguing over the civil RICO statute, he shakes his head in wonder. "It's overkill," he says. "It's right up there with getting a sledgehammer out to kill a gnat."
The Supreme Court heard oral arguments April 26 in Mohawk Industries Inc. v. Williams, a case that could expand the reach of civil RICO to companies that knowingly employ illegal immigrants. The Court remanded the case to the 11th Circuit for further consideration June 5 after deciding a related civil RICO case, Ideal Steel v. Anza. Mohawk could deliver a significant jolt if it broadens the scope of how courts apply RICO to corporations alleged to have engaged in illegal conduct with another party.