BE&K Constr. Co. v. NLRB, 536 U.S. 516, 9 (2002)

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Opinion of the Court

246 F. 3d, at 629. Instead, the court decided Professional Real Estate Investors was inapplicable because its immunity standard had been established in the antitrust context without reference to any standard for determining if completed litigation violates the NLRA. 246 F. 3d, at 629. The Sixth Circuit found that substantial evidence supported the Board's inference of retaliatory motive because petitioner had filed an unmeritorious suit, realleged previously decided claims, sought treble damages on its antitrust claim, and sought damages from unions not parties to the state court suit. Id., at 629-631. The court also upheld the Board's award of attorney's fees. Id., at 632.

Petitioner sought review of the Sixth Circuit's judgment by a petition for certiorari that raised four separate questions. We granted certiorari on the following rephrased question:

"Did the Court of Appeals err in holding that under Bill Johnson's Restaurants, Inc. v. NLRB, 461 U. S. 731 (1983), the NLRB may impose liability on an employer for filing a losing retaliatory lawsuit, even if the employer could show the suit was not objectively baseless under Professional Real Estate Investors, Inc. v. Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc., 508 U. S. 49 (1993)?" 534 U. S. 1074 (2002).

We now reverse the judgment of the Sixth Circuit and remand.


The First Amendment provides, in relevant part, that "Congress shall make no law . . . abridging . . . the right of the people . . . to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." We have recognized this right to petition as one of "the most precious of the liberties safeguarded by the Bill of Rights," Mine Workers v. Illinois Bar Assn., 389 U. S. 217, 222 (1967), and have explained that the right is implied

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