BE&K Constr. Co. v. NLRB, 536 U.S. 516, 4 (2002)

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Cite as: 536 U. S. 516 (2002)

Opinion of the Court

not be read so broadly as to reach the entire class of cases the Board has deemed retaliatory. Because nothing in 158(a)(1)'s text indicates that it must be read to reach all reasonably based but unsuccessful suits filed with a retaliatory purpose, the Court declines to do so. And because the Board's standard for imposing NLRA liability allows it to penalize such suits, its standard is invalid. Pp. 533-537.

246 F. 3d 619, reversed and remanded.

O'Connor, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Rehnquist, C. J., and Scalia, Kennedy, and Thomas, JJ., joined. Scalia, J., filed a concurring opinion, in which Thomas, J., joined, post, p. 537. Breyer, J., filed an opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment, in which Stevens, Souter, and Ginsburg, JJ., joined, post, p. 538.

Maurice Baskin argued the cause and filed briefs for petitioner.

Deputy Solicitor General Wallace argued the cause for respondents. With him on the brief for the National Labor Relations Board were Solicitor General Olson, Austin C. Schlick, Arthur F. Rosenfeld, John H. Ferguson, Norton J. Come, and John Emad Arbab. Sandra Rae Benson, Theodore Franklin, Jonathan P. Hiatt, James B. Coppess, Peter D. Nussbaum, Meera Trehan, and Laurence Gold filed a brief for respondent Unions.*

Justice O'Connor delivered the opinion of the Court.

Petitioner sued respondent unions, claiming that their lobbying, litigation, and other concerted activities violated federal labor law and antitrust law. After petitioner lost on or withdrew each of its claims, the National Labor Relations Board decided petitioner had violated federal labor law by prosecuting an unsuccessful suit with a retaliatory motive. The Court of Appeals affirmed. Because we find the Board

*Briefs of amici curiae urging reversal were filed for the Chamber of Commerce of the United States et al. by Stanley R. Strauss, Stephen A. Bokat, Robin S. Conrad, and Joshua A. Ulman; and for the Society for Human Resource Management et al. by Mark A. Carter and Daniel V. Yager.


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