A recently dismissed federal lawsuit based on the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act or RICO Act, put into focus an important legal weapon that businesses may use to protect their interests against the unfair tactics of their competition. On the flip side, the suit also demonstrates a source of legal liability businesses in South Florida may face.

It is an axiom of business law that while businesses in a free market naturally compete with each other for revenue, they must do so in accordance with the law. In the recent case that hit the news, a man who founded a firm that handles corporate restructuring of bankrupt organizations legally accused his firm’s competitor of defrauding bankruptcy courts across the country. He filed suit under the RICO law because the law allows those harmed by a criminal enterprise to do so in order to recover damages.

Specifically, he suggested that the competitor was not being forthright with the bankruptcy courts when swearing that the competitor was disinterested in the bankruptcies in which it was helping fledgling businesses get back on their feet. The man said his suit had been dismissed on a technicality and vowed to continue his fight.

For its part, the United States Department of Justice indicated it had authority to investigate alleged criminal violations of the country’s bankruptcies laws, as the entire system depends heavily on the candor of all involved.

Like the federal RICO law, Florida also has its own system for dealing with businesses that engage in a pattern of unlawful practices. In some cases, a Florida business may need to use such laws during the course of business litigation in order to prevent a rival from engaging in unfair competition. In these matters, it is important to understand your rights about options.