Scheidler v. National Organization for Women, Inc., 537 U.S. 393, 7 (2003)

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Cite as: 537 U. S. 393 (2003)

Opinion of the Court

vated by an economic purpose. See Scheidler, 510 U. S., at 256-262. The case was remanded to the District Court for further proceedings.

After a 7-week trial, a six-member jury concluded that petitioners violated the civil provisions of RICO. By answering a series of special interrogatory questions, the jury found, inter alia, that petitioners' alleged "pattern of racketeering activity" included 21 violations of the Hobbs Act, 18 U. S. C. 1951; 25 violations of state extortion law; 25 instances of attempting or conspiring to commit either federal or state extortion; 23 violations of the Travel Act, 18 U. S. C. 1952; and 23 instances of attempting to violate the Travel Act. The jury awarded $31,455.64 to respondent, the National Women's Health Organization of Delaware, Inc., and $54,471.28 to the National Women's Health Organization of Summit, Inc. These damages were trebled pursuant to 1964(c). Additionally, the District Court entered a permanent nationwide injunction prohibiting petitioners from obstructing access to the clinics, trespassing on clinic property, damaging clinic property, or using violence or threats of violence against the clinics, their employees, or their patients.

The Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed in relevant part. The Court of Appeals rejected petitioners' contention that the things respondents claimed were "obtained"—the class women's right to seek medical services from the clinics, the clinic doctors' rights to perform their jobs, and the clinics' rights to provide medical services and otherwise conduct their business—were not "property" for purposes of the Hobbs Act. The court explained that it had "repeatedly held that intangible property such as the right to conduct a business can be considered 'property' under the Hobbs Act." 267 F. 3d 687, 709 (2001). Likewise, the Court of Appeals dismissed petitioners' claim that even if "property" was involved, petitioners did not "obtain" that property; they merely forced respondents to part with it. Again relying on Circuit precedent, the court held that " 'as a legal


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