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United States v. Larson

United States District Court, Second Circuit

November 23, 2013

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
CARL A. LARSON, et al., Defendants.

DECISION AND ORDER

WILLIAM M. SKRETNY, Chief District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

This is a criminal action brought under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, 18 U.S.C. §§ 1961 et seq., and the Hobbs Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1951. Briefly, over the course of about eleven years, Defendants, members of a labor union known as "Local 17, " are alleged to have engaged in threats, physical violence, and property damage in an attempt to force construction employers in Western New York to hire Local 17 members for their projects.

Defendants previously moved for dismissal of the Second Superseding Indictment on the ground that it did not contain sufficient allegations of extortable property as defined by the Supreme Court's recent ruling in Sekhar v. United States , 133. S.Ct. 2720, 186 L.Ed.2d 794 (June 26, 2013). Those allegations were that Defendants attempted to extort:

a. Property of construction contractors consisting of wages and benefits to be paid pursuant to labor contracts with Local 17 at construction projects in Western New York.
b. Property of non-union construction laborers consisting of the jobs being performed by those non-union laborers and the wages and benefits associated with those jobs at construction projects in Western New York.
c. Property of construction contractors and businesses consisting of the right to make business decisions free from outside pressure at construction projects in Western New York.
d. Property of construction contractors consisting of wages and employee benefit contributions paid or to be paid by said contractors for unwanted, unnecessary, and superfluous labor.

(Sec. Sup. Indict. ¶ 8, Docket No. 280.)

This Court denied the motion in an October 9, 2013 Decision and Order on the ground that at least two of the four property allegations survived Sekhar, specifically the allegations that Defendants attempted to obtain by extortion the property of construction contractors consisting of wages and benefits to be paid pursuant to labor contracts, and the property of construction contractors consisting of wages and employee benefit contributions paid or to be paid by said contractors for unwanted, unnecessary, and superfluous labor. At least one of these two property allegations was alleged in connection with every predicate racketeering act and Hobbs Act charge. This Court agreed with Defendants, however, that the right to make business decisions free from outside pressure' did not constitute extortable property as defined by the Supreme Court. Left unresolved was the issue of whether the property of non-union construction laborers consisting of the jobs being performed by those non-union laborers and the wages and benefits associated with those jobs' constituted extortable property.

Presently before this Court is Defendants' joint motion for reconsideration of the October 9, 2013 Decision and Order. Familiarity with this prior order is assumed. Defendants have also jointly moved for a redaction of the Second Superseding Indictment. This Court finds these matters fully briefed[1] and oral argument unnecessary.

II. DISCUSSION

A. Motion for Reconsideration

Although there is no express criminal procedure provision for a reconsideration motion, courts in this Circuit have applied the applicable civil standard to such motions in criminal cases. United States v. Gundy, No. 13 Crim. 8 (JPO), 2013 WL 4838845, *1(S.D.N.Y. Sept. 11, 2013); United States v. Reyes, No. 3:10-cr-120 (VLB) , 2013 WL 1882305, *1 (D. Conn. May 3, 2013); United States v. Briggs, No. 10CR184S, 2012 WL 5449688, *2 (W.D.N.Y. Nov. 7, 2012). Reconsideration of a prior decision is generally justified where there is: (1) an intervening change in controlling law; (2) new evidence; or (3) the need to correct a clear error of law or to prevent manifest injustice. Virgin Atl. Airways, Ltd. v. Nat'l Mediation Bd. , 956 F.2d 1245, 1255 (2d Cir. 1992), cert denied, 506 U.S. 820 (1992); United States v. Kasper, No. 10-CR-318S, 2012 WL 2573259, *1 (W.D.N.Y. June 29, 2012); see also Shrader v. CSZ Trans., Inc. , 70 F.3d 255, 257 (2d Cir.1995) ...


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