Maloney Firm Attorneys Secure Summary Judgment Victory in Racketeering Case

May 31, 2023

On May 24, 2023, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California granted summary judgment in favor of The Maloney Firm client, Nourmand & Associates, in Relevant Group, LLC v. Nourmand, Case No. 19-CV-05019. Relevant Group sought damages of more than $150 million, which it sought to have tripled, arising from alleged civil RICO violations.

Relevant’s lawsuit alleged that Nourmand & Associates participated, along with the other defendants, in a racketeering enterprise that challenged four of Relevant Group’s hotel projects in Hollywood by raising environmental concerns under the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”). Though it was not a party to any of the CEQA lawsuits, which were brought by Sunset Landmark, LLC, Nourmand & Associates was accused of supporting the CEQA challenges by attending local government hearings and loaning its conference room for a meeting between Relevant and Sunset Landmark.

In finding that Relevant’s suit lacked merit, Judge Gutierrez ruled that the CEQA petitions were “the product of a duly enacted, environmentally focused California statute” and prohibited Relevant from “undermin[ing] California’s policy choices by bringing a civil RICO action to penalize legitimate…CEQA activity.”  Further, the Court found the CEQA challenges enjoyed the protections of the First Amendment right to petition because Relevant Group had not established that any of challenges were objectively baseless. 

Maloney Firm attorneys Patrick Maloney, Gregory Smith, and Elizabeth Schaus represented Nourmand & Associates.  James Turken, Christopher Pelham, and Neil Thakor of Norton Rose Fulbright represented Sunset Landmark and the other defendants.

Congratulations to the talented attorneys who achieved such a tremendous result! 

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