Tafflin v. Levitt

PETITIONER: Tafflin
RESPONDENT: Levitt
LOCATION: Oregon Department of Human Resources

DOCKET NO.: 88-1650
DECIDED BY: Rehnquist Court (1988-1990)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

CITATION: 493 US 455 (1990)
ARGUED: Nov 27, 1989
DECIDED: Jan 22, 1990

ADVOCATES:
Andrew H. Marks - on behalf of the Respondents
M. Norman Goldberger - on behalf of the Petitioners

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Tafflin v. Levitt

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 27, 1989 in Tafflin v. Levitt

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - January 22, 1990 in Tafflin v. Levitt

William H. Rehnquist:

The opinion of the Court in No. 88-1650, Tafflin against Levitt will be announced by Justice O’Connor.

Sandra Day O'Connor:

This case comes to the Court on writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

The question presented is whether State Courts have concurrent jurisdiction over civil actions brought under the Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organizations Act commonly referred to as RICO.

In an opinion filed today, we hold that State Courts do have concurrent jurisdiction to adjudicate such claims.

There is nothing in the language of the statute to suggest that Congress has by affirmative enactment divested the State Courts of such jurisdiction.

The legislative history likewise does not unmistakably imply that Congress so intended.

We find no clear incompatibility between concurrent jurisdictions and the federal interest underlying the statute.

There is no significant danger of inconsistent application of federal criminal law because Federal Courts retain authority over the interpretation and application of such laws.

We have full faith in the ability of State Courts to handle the complexities of civil RICO actions, particularly, since many RICO cases involve asserted violations of state law.

The judgment of the Court of Appeals is affirmed.

The decision of the court is unanimous.

Justice White has filed a concurring opinion; Justice Scalia has also filed a concurring opinion which Justice Kennedy has joined.