Part I of this article outlines RICO's statutory scheme, reviews the common law doctrines under which a principal may be liable for the acts of its agent and the policies behind these doctrines, and examines RICO decisions raising the issue of vicarious liability. Part II examines non-RICO federal cases and identifies relevant factors determining the appropriateness of applying respondeat superior and agency principles to federal statutes. Finally, Part III analyzes the specific provisions of RICO in light of the factors identified in Part II. The article concludes that these factors do not support the imposition of liability on defendants other than the primary RICO violator. Accordingly, RICO should not be extended to reach defendants liable only by reason of principles of vicarious liability. If courts refuse to extend such liability, there will be a significant reduction in the number of RICO suits brought against securities firms. As a result, the concern over the firms' potential extended liability under RICO can be alleviated without congressional amendment.
Black, Barbara, "Application of Respondeat Superior Principles to Securities Fraud Claims under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO)" (1984). Faculty Articles and Other Publications. 76.