Mohawk Industries, Inc. v. Williams

PETITIONER: Mohawk Industries, Inc.
RESPONDENT: Shirley Williams et al.
LOCATION: United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

DOCKET NO.: 05-465
DECIDED BY: Roberts Court (2006-2009)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

CITATION: 547 US 516 (2006)
GRANTED: Dec 12, 2005
ARGUED: Apr 26, 2006
DECIDED: Jun 05, 2006

ADVOCATES:
Carter G. Phillips - argued the cause for Petitioner
Howard W. Foster - argued the cause for Respondents
Malcolm L. Stewart - argued the cause for Respondents

Facts of the case

A group of current and former employees of Mohawk Industries brought suit against Mohawk in federal district court under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). They claimed that Mohawk had conspired with third-party employment recruiters to bring illegal immigrants into Georgia to work for the company, and that the resulting competition for jobs hurt the legal workers. Mohawk asked the court to dismiss the case because, it argued, the plaintiffs had not shown that there were two distinct entities involved in the illegal activity as required under RICO. The only parties involved were the Mohawk corporation and the third-party recruiters, which were acting as its "agents." Mohawk argued that, because the recruiters were working on behalf of the corporation rather than in cooperation with (but distinct from) it, they should not be considered separate entities. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed, ruling that the recruiters and the corporation were distinct and that RICO could therefore apply.

Question

May a corporation be held liable under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act for actions in which only it and its non-employee agents were involved?

Media for Mohawk Industries, Inc. v. Williams

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - April 26, 2006 in Mohawk Industries, Inc. v. Williams

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - June 05, 2006 in Mohawk Industries, Inc. v. Williams

John G. Roberts, Jr.:

Also this morning, we decide two argued cases in Per Curiam opinions.

In 04-1131, Whitman versus Department of Transportation, the judgment of the Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit is vacated, and the case is remanded for further proceedings.

Justice Alito took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.

In 05-465, Mohawk Industries versus Williams, the writ of certiorari we previously granted limited to Question 1 presented by the petition is dismissed as improvidently granted; however, today, we now grant the petition for certiorari.

The judgment is vacated, and the case is remanded to the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit for further consideration in light of our decision just announced in Anza versus Ideal Steel Supply Corporation.