Mendoza v. Zirkle Fruit Co., 301 F.3d 1163 (9th Cir. 2002)

The prospective class of legally documented agricultural workers in this case alleged that their employers had depressed their wages by way of an “Illegal Immigrant Hiring Scheme,” pursuant to which the employers knowingly hired workers of illegal status who were willing to accept below-market wages. The employees alleged a violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). The district court dismissed the complaint on the grounds that the alleged damages were too speculative and difficult to ascertain. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed, holding that “we are unable to discern a more direct victim of the illegal conduct” than the prospective class of employees. The Court further held that notwithstanding possible uncertainty in the amount of damages, the employees’ complaint was sufficient to survive a motion to dismiss.