BE&K Constr. Co. v. NLRB, 536 U.S. 516, 5 (2002)

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Opinion of the Court

lacked authority to assess liability using this standard, we reverse and remand.


Petitioner, an industrial general contractor, received a contract to modernize a California steel mill near the beginning of 1987. 246 F. 3d 619, 621 (CA6 2001). According to petitioner, various unions attempted to delay the project because petitioner's employees were nonunion. Ibid. That September, petitioner and the mill operator filed suit against those unions in the District Court for the Northern District of California. App. to Pet. for Cert. 33a. The suit was based on the following basic allegations: First, the unions had lobbied for adoption and enforcement of an emissions standard, despite having no real concern the project would harm the environment. 246 F. 3d, at 621. Second, the unions had handbilled and picketed at petitioner's site—and also encouraged strikes among the employees of petitioner's subcontractors—without revealing reasons for their disagreement. Ibid. Third, to delay the construction project and raise costs, the unions had filed an action in state court alleging violations of California's Health and Safety Code. Id., at 621-622. Finally, the unions had launched grievance proceedings against petitioner's joint venture partner based on inapplicable collective bargaining agreements. Id., at 622.

Initially, petitioner and the mill operator sought damages under 303 of the Labor-Management Relations Act, 1947 (LMRA), 61 Stat. 158, as amended, 29 U. S. C. 187, which provides a cause of action against labor organizations for injuries caused by secondary boycotts prohibited under 158(b)(4). 246 F. 3d, at 622. But after the District Court granted the unions' motion for summary judgment on the plaintiffs' lobbying- and grievance-related claims, the plaintiffs amended their complaint to allege that the unions' activities violated 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act, 26 Stat. 209, as amended, 15 U. S. C. 1-2, which prohibit certain agree-

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