First Circuit affirms dismissal of multi-billion dollar RICO complaint against Nixon Peabody client

March 03, 2021

Director of Media Relations
Nicholas Braude

Boston, MA. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit affirmed a trial court’s dismissal of a $3 billion civil RICO lawsuit filed by Sterling Suffolk Racecourse LLC regarding the Massachusetts Gaming Commission’s decision to grant a casino license to Wynn Resorts Ltd. Nixon Peabody represented casino executive Stephen Wynn in the case.

Sterling Suffolk, former owner of horse racetrack Suffolk Downs, brought action in federal court in Boston in 2018, alleging racketeering conduct in Wynn Resorts’ acquisition of the casino license. On defendants’ motion, the district court dismissed the case with prejudice in 2019. Sterling Suffolk appealed.

Nixon Peabody partner Joshua Sharp presented oral argument at the First Circuit on February 1, 2021, arguing that Sterling Suffolk’s alleged injury was too remote to satisfy the proximate cause element of the RICO statute. On March 3, 2021, the First Circuit agreed, finding that “Sterling has failed to make a threshold showing that it suffered any direct injury entitling it to RICO relief.”

The case is Sterling Suffolk Racecourse LLC v. Wynn Resorts Ltd. et al., No. 20-1512 (U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit).

The Nixon Peabody team on the case consists of partners Brian Kelly and Joshua Sharp, associate Lauren Maynard, and paralegal Joelle MarkAnthony, all members of the firm’s Government Investigations & White Collar Defense practice.

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