The Supreme Court appeared sympathetic to pleas by business advocates not to “RICO-ize” all types of business relationships, as Justice Stephen Breyer put it, during oral arguments Wednesday.

The Court heard debate in Mohawk Industries v. Williams, a class action brought against Georgia carpet manufacturer Mohawk Industries under the civil portion of RICO, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. Current and former employees of Mohawk claimed that its hiring of illegal aliens — in concert with outside recruiting and temp agencies — depressed wages and amounted to racketeering as defined under RICO. If the suit fits under RICO and the plaintiffs prevail, Mohawk would be exposed to treble damages and could be forced to pay plaintiffs’ attorney fees.

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