Associated General Contractors v. California State Council Of Carpenters

459 U.S. 519 (1983)


Ps are affiliated with the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, AFL-CIO. Ps represent more than 50,000 individuals employed by Ds in the carpentry, drywall, piledriving, and related industries throughout the State of California. This case arises out of a dispute between parties to a multi-employer collective-bargaining agreement. Ps alleged the D coerced its members and third parties to do business with nonunion firms. Ps claim that this coercion affected unionized firms and restrained the business activities of Ps. P and D have been parties to collective-bargaining agreements governing the terms and conditions of employment in construction-related industries in California for over 25 years. The wages and other benefits paid pursuant to these agreements amount to more than $750 million per year. P alleged that Ds conspired to abrogate and weaken the collective-bargaining relationship between Ps and the signatory employers. P alleged that Ds goal was 'to weaken, destroy, and restrain the trade of certain contractors,' who were either members of P or memorandum contractors who had signed agreements with P; and second, to restrain 'the free exercise of the business activities of Ps and each of them.' The District Court dismissed the complaint, including the federal antitrust claim; the complaint alleged 'a rather vague, general conspiracy,' and that the allegations 'appear typical of disputes a union might have with an employer,' which in the normal course are resolved by grievance and arbitration or by the NLRB. P appealed. The majority of the Court of Appeals adopted a construction of the amended complaint which is somewhat broader than the allegations in the pleading itself. It held (1) that a Sherman Act violation -- a group boycott -- had been alleged; (2) that Ds' conduct was not within the antitrust exemption for labor activities; and (3) that Ps had standing to recover damages for the injury to their own business activities occasioned by the defendants' 'industry-wide boycott against all subcontractors with whom the Unions had signed agreements . . . .' The injury to Ps was a foreseeable consequence of the antitrust violation, and that injury was specifically intended by Ds. The Supreme Court granted certiorari