A federal judge has thrown out racketeering charges against the firm of Linda Dickens, the local attorney who is suing the owners of the Kansas City Power & Light District for racial discrimination on behalf of African-American clients.
In a ruling handed down Wednesday afternoon, U.S. District Judge John W. Lungstrum said the allegations by The Cordish Companies Inc. did not amount to the kind of long-term criminal activity against which the racketeering law is aimed.
The Racketeer Influenced And Corrupt Organizations Act, commonly known as RICO, is used to bust up ongoing organized crime operations.
In its suit against Dickens, The Cordish Companies alleged extortion over a span of time amounting to racketeering.
Citing other cases, Lungstrum ruled that dismissal of Cordish's racketeering claims was appropriate "because plaintiffs have alleged conduct that constitutes 'legitimate acts' on the part of attorneys 'acting on behalf of a client in the course of pending litigation.'"
Cordish also alleged that Dickens made false statements about the company's reputation amounting to defamation.
Lungstrum dismissed the defamation claim but gave Cordish the option of refiling it in state court.
Dickens is suing Cordish on behalf of Glen Cusimano, who claims he was wrongfully fired from a Cordish club because he is black. Dickens also has filed a class-action lawsuit alleging racial discrimination on behalf of black patrons of Cordish establishments.
Cordish did not respond to requests for comment.