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Murray v. Mulgrew

March 26, 2010

LAURA MURRAY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
GARY MULGREW AND ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND GROUP PLC, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Henry H. Kennedy, Jr. United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Laura Murray brings this action against Gary Mulgrew, her ex-husband, and the Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC ("RBS Group"), which is now the parent company of Mulgrew's former employer, National Westminster Bank ("NatWest"). The case arises from Mulgrew's alleged mistreatment of Murray during their marriage as well as his alleged concealment from her of funds he illegally obtained during his employment with NatWest. Murray alleges two counts of violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act ("RICO"), 18 U.S.C. § 1961 et seq., against Mulgrew and thirteen additional counts, each against Mulgrew, RBS Group, or both, of violations of various laws of the United Kingdom.

Before the Court are motions to dismiss filed by Mulgrew and RBS Group, respectively [##20, 13]. Upon consideration of the motions, the oppositions thereto, and the record of this case, the Court concludes that Murray's complaint should be dismissed.

I. BACKGROUND

Laura Murray, a United States citizen, was married to Gary Mulgrew in the United Kingdom in July 1991. Compl. ¶ 1.*fn1 Murray and Mulgrew separated in October 2003 and were divorced in February 2006. Id. Murray alleges that during their marriage, Mulgrew both physically and emotionally abused her by striking, shaking, throwing objects at, and insulting her. Id. ¶¶ 2, 27-32. She also alleges that Mulgrew opened bank accounts and created liabilities in her name without her knowledge and consent and that he has failed to make required child support payments to her. Id. ¶¶ 23-25.

During Murray and Mulgrew's marriage, Mulgrew was employed by NatWest, which is now a part of RBS Group. Id. ¶ 4. In 2000, Mulgrew and two co-workers ("the NatWest Three") defrauded RBS Group of funds it held in a company known as LJM Swap Sub, L.P. Id. ¶¶ 4-5. In part through a series of wire communications, the NatWest Three converted and divided equally amongst themselves approximately $7.5 million. Id. ¶¶ 6-12. Mulgrew concealed the proceeds of the scheme throughout his marriage to, and divorce from, Murray. Id. ¶ 13. In November 2007, Mulgrew and the other two members of the NatWest Three pled guilty to one count each of wire fraud in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas.

Id. ¶ 14. As a part of his plea, Mulgrew agreed that he and his two co-workers were jointly and severally liable to RBS Group and would pay full restitution. Id. ¶ 18.

Murray filed this action on September 5, 2008.*fn2 Counts I and II of her complaint allege that Mulgrew violated RICO sections 1962(c) and 1962(d) by engaging in wire fraud to execute the NatWest Three's scheme and then concealing from her the funds he held as a result when the couple divided their property upon divorce. Counts III through XV allege various violations of United Kingdom law. Murray asserts claims of assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, breach of contract, deceit, fraudulent concealment, intentional misrepresentation, negligent misrepresentation, and breach of fiduciary duty by Mulgrew based on his alleged abuse of Murray during their marriage as well as his concealment of funds and failure to pay child support. Against RBS Group, she alleges negligent failure to supervise and breach of fiduciary duty for failing to prevent Mulgrew's participation in the NatWest Three's scheme and for allowing him to open bank accounts in her name. She also asserts claims of civil conspiracy and negligence by both defendants.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

Under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a court may dismiss a complaint, or any portion of it, for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). A court considering a motion to dismiss on this ground must assume that all factual allegations in the complaint are true, even if they are doubtful. Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). "[A] plaintiff's obligation to provide the 'grounds' of [her] 'entitle[ment] to relief,'" however, "requires more than labels and conclusions . . . . Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Id. (internal citations omitted). A "pleading that offers 'labels and conclusions' or 'a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).

III. ANALYSIS

A. Murray's RICO Claims Must Be Dismissed Because She Has Not Alleged Facts to Support the Contention That the RICO Violation Was a Proximate Cause of Her Injuries

The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act provides, in relevant part, that:

(c) It shall be unlawful for any person employed by or associated with any enterprise engaged in, or the activities of which affect, interstate or foreign commerce, to conduct or participate, directly or indirectly, in the conduct of such enterprise's affairs ...


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