Motion to Reopen Granted: RICO Claims Against TCPA Plaintiff May Proceed
In January 2020, Jacovetti Law, P.C., a law firm in Pennsylvania, filed a lawsuit against prolific TCPA filer, Blake Shelton, and his company Final Verdict Solutions, for allegedly inducing companies to call Shelton, so he can file a TCPA lawsuit in violation of RICO, wire fraud, and unjust enrichment. The Jacovetti firm initiated this RICO lawsuit in response to Shelton’s separate TCPA action in the same court, where Shelton had named the law firm as a defendant. Shelton responded to the RICO suit with a motion for judgment on the pleadings. The Jacovetti firm failed to respond to Shelton’s MJOP, and so the Court had granted Shelton’s unopposed MJOP and Shelton won the case.
Now the Jacovetti law firm filed a motion asking the Court to reopen the decision to grant Shelton judgment on the pleadings, and for leave to file an amended complaint. The proposed amended complaint added a defamation claim. The parties fully briefed the law firm’s motion to reopen.
The Court granted the motion to reopen/leave to amend the complaint. The Court will allow the RICO claim to proceed against Shelton for his conduct in allegedly pursuing manufactured TCPA cases. The court dismissed the defamation claim because the allegedly defamatory statements that Shelton made were written in the complaint of the TCPA lawsuit; litigation privileged. The Court also dismissed the Jacovetti firms’ claim that Shelton was unjustly enriched as improper, because the claim Shelton was unjustly enriched, was for a prior won TCPA judgment – to which the court said, our judgment was not unjust! We’ll see how the RICO claims play out.