In an opinion today, Judge Koeltl partly dismissed a RICO case accusing a home action company called Concierge of deceiving customers about its “auction results, sales statistics, and track records,” and engaging in “other fraudulent conduct such as using shill bidders, allowing bids from unregistered bidders, and adding a reserve at the last minute.” Judge Koeltl found that Conceirge’s competitor, Grand Estates, lacked standing to bring RICO claims arising from fraud that harmed it only indirectly:
The plaintiffs have conceded that Grand Estates could be injured only as the result of the injury to the property sellers who were allegedly defrauded. In other words, Grand Estates suffered only indirect injury that was derivative of the injury to the property sellers. Grand Estates was injured only because the property owners were allegedly deceived into using Concierge’s auction services. In addition, Grand Estates was not the sole competitor of Concierge, even though the number of auction houses in the business of luxury estate auctions may not be large. Moreover, although the plaintiffs in this case name multiple instances in which property sellers were in touch with Grand Estates but eventually contracted with Concierge, there could be many reasons for which those property sellers did not choose Grand Estates, and there was no guarantee that those who contracted with Concierge would otherwise have chosen Grand Estates. . . . Any defrauded seller is presumably capable of bringing suit on his or her own: indeed, the individual plaintiffs in this case, the Jarols, are property sellers bringing their own RICO claims against the defendants. The Bloesers also brought claims against the defendants but have discontinued those claims. Thus, it is unnecessary to find standing for Grand Estates in order to redress the injuries caused by the defendants’ alleged scheme of fraud.