Current and former franchisees of Stratus Franchising, LLC, a commercial cleaning business tried to use the RICO Act (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act) to assert violations but failed as Stratus Group moved to enforce the individual arbitration provisions within the franchise agreements. The franchisees argued the arbitration provision (a broad standard-form arbitration provision) was “unconscionable” which means it was oppressive, harsh, and unfair – basically calling Stratus Group cheaters & liars. The franchisees also said the other companies (Stratus Group) that didn’t even sign the agreements so they couldn’t try and enforce the agreements; the franchisees lost both of those battles.
Continue Reading Class Action Arbitration Claims Avoided By Third Party Beneficiaries

Cynthia Cordes’s article, “Human trafficking: Corporate responsibility for modern day slavery” appeared in the May issue of the St. Louis Lawyer, a Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis publication.

Cynthia leads the firm’s Human Trafficking Pro Bono Legal Clinic. As an assistant U.S. attorney, she became the first federal prosecutor in the United States to charge the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) against an international human trafficking enterprise. She was the first to investigate and prosecute the newly enacted fraud in foreign labor contracting statute. Cynthia also broke new ground by utilizing the Trafficking Victims Protection Act to prosecute the demand for trafficking. She has prosecuted more human-trafficking cases than any other assistant U.S. attorney in the country.
Continue Reading Cynthia Cordes Authors Human Trafficking Article for the St. Louis Lawyer

Husch Blackwell is proud to announce that Partner Cynthia Cordes is one of Kansas City’s 2014 Influential Women.  Read the KC Business Magazine profile. Cynthia leads the firm’s Human Trafficking Pro Bono Legal Clinic. As an assistant U.S. attorney, she became the first federal prosecutor in the United States to charge the Racketeer Influenced and