Ray, et al. v. Spirit Airlines, Inc., No. 13-15681 (11th Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs filed suit under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), 18 U.S.C. 1961-1968, alleging that Spirit conducted an enterprise by means of racketeering activity. The district court dismissed the action. The court concluded that, because federal laws do not preempt other federal laws, subsequent legislation could preclude plaintiffs' claims only if Congress had repealed the provision of RICO, at least insofar as they authorized plaintiffs' actions; Congress did not do so expressly through the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 (ADA), Pub. L. No. 95-504, 92 Stat. 1705; there was no "repeal by implication" because Congress has not exhibited the requisite clear and manifest intent; and a saving clause found in the ADA did not disturb any other remedies provided by law. The court concluded that the two laws are not irreconcilably in conflict, nor was the ADA clearly intended as a substitute for RICO. The court, applying the strong presumption against implied repeals, was strongly constrained to conclude that RICO supplements, rather than subverts, federal regulation of air carriers. The court also held that the federal regulatory scheme governing the airline industry does not preclude a claim founded on the civil provisions of RICO. Accordingly, the court vacated and remanded.