Shortly after a bathroom fixtures plant in Passaic, N.J., announced in 2002 that it would close, employees began filing workers’ compensation suits over a range of health problems.

The plant’s operator, calling the claims bogus, sued the 84 laid-off workers and their workers’ comp lawyers under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, and a federal court on March 13 entered a $2.2 million default judgment.