Both statutes [RICO and Clayton Act] bring to bear the pressure of “private attorneys general” on a serious national problem for which public prosecutorial resources are deemed inadequate;  the mechanism chosen to reach the objective in both the Clayton Act and RICO is the carrot of treble damages.

 

[Agency Holding Corp. v. Malley-Duff & Associates]

[107 S.Ct. 2759, 483 U.S. 143, 151 (1987)]

[bold emphasis added]

 

In rejecting a significantly different focus under RICO, therefore, we are honoring an analogy that Congress itself accepted and relied upon, and one that promotes the objectives of civil RICO as readily as it furthers the objects of the Clayton Act.  Both statutes share a common congressional objective of encouraging civil litigation to supplement Government efforts to deter and penalize the respectively prohibited practices.  The object of civil RICO is thus not merely to compensate victims but to turn them into prosecutors, "private attorneys general," dedicated to eliminating racketeering activity. 3  Id., at 187 (citing Malley-Duff, 483 U.S., at 151 ) (civil RICO specifically has a "further purpose [of] encouraging potential private plaintiffs diligently to investigate").  The provision for treble damages is accordingly justified by the expected benefit of suppressing racketeering activity, an object pursued the sooner the better.

 

[Rotella v. Wood et al., 528 U.S. 549 (2000)]

[bold and underline emphases added]

 

 

Attorney General, Private

 

The “private attorney general” concept holds that a successful private party plaintiff is entitled to recovery of his legal expenses, including attorney fees, if he has advanced the policy inherent in public interest legislation on behalf of a significant class of persons.  Dasher v. Housing Authority of City of Atlanta, Ga., D.C.Ga., 64 F.R.D. 720, 722.  See also Equal Access to Justice Act.

 

[Black’s Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition]

[bold emphasis added]

 

 

Note:  The following California State statutes were recently amended by voter approval of Proposition 64.  We leave these provisions here, for comparative historical purposes.

 

Private Attorney General statutes,

California Business and Professions Code

 

Section 17204.  Actions for any relief pursuant to this chapter shall be prosecuted exclusively in a court of competent jurisdiction by the Attorney General or any district attorney or by any county counsel authorized by agreement with the district attorney in actions involving violation of a county ordinance, or any city attorney of a city, or city and county, having a population in excess of 750,000, and, with the consent of the district attorney, by a city prosecutor in any city having a full-time city prosecutor or, with the consent of the district attorney, by a city attorney in any city and county in the name of the people of the State of California upon their own complaint or upon the complaint of any board, officer, person, corporation or association or by any person acting for the interests of itself, its members or the general public.

 

[bold emphasis added]

 

Section 17535.  Any person, corporation, firm, partnership, joint stock company, or any other association or organization which violates or proposes to violate this chapter may be enjoined by any court of competent jurisdiction.

 

The court may make such orders or judgments, including the appointment of a receiver, as may be necessary to prevent the use or employment by any person, corporation, firm, partnership, joint stock company, or any other association or organization of any practices which violate this chapter, or which may be necessary to restore to any person in interest any money or property, real or personal, which may have been acquired by means of any practice in this chapter declared to be unlawful.

 

Actions for injunction under this section may be prosecuted by the Attorney General or any district attorney, county counsel, city attorney, or city prosecutor in this state in the name of the people of the State of California upon their own complaint or upon the complaint of any board, officer, person, corporation or association or by any person acting for the interests of itself, its members or the general public.

 

[bold emphasis added]