RJR Nabisco, Inc. v. European Community

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that RJR Nabisco could not be sued under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act for its conduct abroad. The European Union (known as the European Community in this case) sued RJR Nabisco claiming that the company directed and managed a global smuggling and money-laundering scheme with organized crime groups in violation of the RICO law. In this decision, the Supreme Court ruled that certain elements of RICO can apply to conduct that occurs outside of the United States. However, the Court also found that a private entity— this case, a foreign government­—cannot sue under RICO in the United States unless it has suffered a domestic injury. Because the European Union had earlier waived its claims of a domestic injury, the Court was forced to dismiss the EU’s remaining claims. 


RJR Nabisco, Inc., et al. v. European Community, et al., No. 15-138 (2016).

  • United States
  • Jun 20, 2016
  • U.S. Supreme Court



  • Nabisco Group Holdings Corp.
  • R.J. Reynolds Global Products, Inc.
  • R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company
  • R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, a North Carolina Corporation
  • R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Holdings, Inc.
  • R.J. Reynolds Tobacco International, Inc.
  • Reynolds American Inc.
  • RJR Acquisition Corp., f/k/a Nabisco Group Holdings Corp.
  • RJR Nabisco Holdings Corp.
  • RJR Nabsico, Inc.

Defendant European Community, acting on its own behalf and on behalf of the Member States it has power to represent, Kingdom of Belgium, Republic of Finland, French Republic, Hellenic Republic, Federal Republic of Germany, Italian Republic, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, Kingdom of the Netherlands, Portugese Republic, Kingdom of Spain, Individually, Kingdom of Denmark, Czech Republic, Republic of Lithuania, Republic of Slovenia, Republic of Malta, Republic of Hungary, Republic of Ireland, Republic of Estonia,

Legislation Cited

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