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METCALF v. DEATH ROW RECORDS

September 4, 2003

AMANDA METCALF, PLAINTIFF,
v.
DEATH ROW RECORDS, INC., THE ROW RECORDS, MARION "SUGE" KNIGHT, REGGIE WRIGHT, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Samuel Conti, Senior District Judge

FINAL JUDGMENT

In accordance with this Court's Order Re: Defendants' Motion to Dismiss, it is hereby ORDERED, ADJUDGED, and DECREED that:

Judgment shall be entered in favor of DEFENDANTS and against PLAINTIFF.

IT IS SO ORDERED. Page 2

Page 1

ORDER RE: DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS

In this case involving alleged violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act ("RICO"), Defendants Death Row Records, Inc. ("Death Row"), The Row Records, Marion "Suge" Knight, and Reggie Wright move to dismiss all Plaintiff's claims pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1) and (6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, respectively. For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' motion to dismiss is granted.

I. FACTUAL HISTORY

Plaintiff Amanda Metcalf ("Metcalf") alleges that Defendants Page 2 defrauded her out of her interest in a contingency fee arrangement for providing legal representation to a third-party, Dick Griffey. Plaintiff seeks $1.5 million in compensatory relief, treble damages as authorized under 18 U.S.C. § 1964(c), and punitive damages. Metcalf and Griffey entered into a representation agreement (the "Agreement") on or about December 20, 1996. The Agreement involved Metcalf's representation of Griffey in a suit that Griffey filed against Defendants. In that suit, the Los Angeles County Superior Court entered judgment for Griffey in the amount of $4 million in February 1998. Metcalf contends that as a result of a conspiracy between Defendants and Griffey, she has not received payment to which she is entitled from the Agreement. On March 25, 2002, Plaintiff instituted a state court action for, inter alia, fraud, conversion, and breach of contract in the Los Angeles County Superior Court against Defendants as well as Griffey and other related parties. On March 24, 2003, Plaintiff initiated two separate actions before this Court — the present case and a related case, Case No. C-03-1251 (the "related case"). The two cases involve different defendants despite alleging identical claims and indistinguishable factual circumstances.*fn1 In both cases, Plaintiff asserts that Defendants conspired with Griffey to deprive her of the contingency fee that she earned for representing Griffey. Plaintiff brings causes of action for RICO violations, 18 U.S.C. § 1962(c) and 1962(d), alleging inter Page 3 alia bribery (18 U.S.C. § 201), mail fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1341) and extortion (18 U.S.C. § 1951) as the requisite predicate acts.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

A Rule 12(b)(6) motion challenges the sufficiency of the complaint. Dismissal of an action for failure to state a claim is appropriate only when it "appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief." Levine v. Diamanthuset, Inc., 950 F.2d 1478, 1482 (9th Cir. 1991)(quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957)). In considering a motion to dismiss, this Court must assume all factual allegations to be true and construe them in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. North Star Intern, v. Arizona Corp. Comm'n, 720 F.2d 578, 590 (9th Cir. 1993). Nevertheless, Plaintiff's complaint must be based on more than "[c]onclusory allegations of law and unwarranted inferences" to defeat a 12(b)(6) motion. Parino v. FHP, Inc., 146 F.3d 699, 706 (9th Cir. 1999)(quoting In re VeriFone Sec. Litig., 11 F.3d 865, 868 (9th Cir. 1993)).

Plaintiff asserts a civil RICO claim under 18 U.S.C. § 1964(c), alleging violations of 18 U.S.C. § 1962(c) and § 1962(d), which respectively prohibit engaging in racketeering activity and conspiracy. A violation of § 1962(c) requires (1) conduct (2) of an enterprise (3) through a pattern (4) of racketeering activity. Ove v. Gwinn, 264 F.3d 817, 825 (9th Cir. 2001). A minimum of two predicate acts within ten years of each other constitute a pattern of racketeering activity. 18 U.S.C. § 1961(5). Furthermore, a Page 4 pattern of racketeering necessarily involves the threat of continuing activity related to the predicate acts. Howard v. America Online, Inc., 208 F.3d 741, 746 (9th Cir. 2000). Conspiracy under § 1962(d) requires either the existence of an agreement which by itself constitutes a substantive RICO violation or the defendants having commit or agreed to commit a violation of two predicate offenses. Id. at 751. To prevail on a civil RICO claim, Plaintiff must establish tangible financial injury and demonstrate that Defendants' prohibited conduct directly and proximately caused such injury. Ove, 264 F.3d at 825. Plaintiff's potential recovery under § 1964(c) is limited to those injuries flowing from the predicate acts. Resolution Trust Corp. v. Keating, 186 F.3d 1110, 1117 (9th Cir. 1999).

III. ...


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