Gateway Center voluntarily dismisses lawsuit against trades council; Suit alleged director spread false rumors over union hiring

By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | Dec 10, 2013


Gateway Center in Collinsville has moved to voluntarily dismiss a lawsuit it filed against a trades council and its executive director claiming it lost business because the defendants falsely told others it refused to hire Illinois union workers.

Represented by John Barberis Jr., Gateway Center claims that because the complaint has not yet been formally served on any of the named defendants and no answers or other pleadings have been filed, no party would be prejudiced by dismissal.

“Plaintiff files this Motion for the reason that it believes that the underlying dispute which gave rise to the Complaint being filed is likely to be resolved without Court involvement at this time,” states the motion filed Dec. 4,

Madison County Associate Judge Thomas Chapman granted the voluntary dismissal on Dec. 4.

According to the complaint filed Oct. 16, Gateway Center claims it lost several contracts with various businesses after defendant Dale Stewart called them with false information. Stewart is the executive director of the Southwestern Illinois Construction and Trades Council.

Gateway alleges Stewart was upset after it awarded a bid on an HVAC removal and replacement contract to a Missouri company and not to an Illinois contractor, the suit stated.

Stewart then allegedly contacted the plaintiff to express his dissatisfaction, claiming the company should have given the opportunity to Illinois trade unions only. However, Gateway claims it responded saying it hired the lowest bidder.

Not long after the incident with Stewart, Gateway claims it began receiving phone calls canceling contracts. 

In a four-page order, Chapman denied Gateway Center’s petition for a temporary restraining order on Oct. 16 stating that the Illinois Labor Relations Board may have jurisdiction over the matter.

“This court has a question of its jurisdiction, because the allegations of the verified complaint amount to allegations of a secondary boycott,” Chapman stated. “The court moreover finds the proposed order to be overbroad, and relatedly … that there is a lack of specificity in the conduct sought to be restrained.

“The United States Supreme Court has explained that if there is arguably a case for preemption, the state court must ‘defer to the Board, and only if the Board decides that the conduct is not protected or prohibited may the state court entertain the litigation,’” he wrote.

Madison County Circuit Court case number 13-L-1735

A local convention center claiming it lost several contracts when the director of a trades council falsely informed businesses that the agency refused to hire Illinois union workers Gateway

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