Dale Pierson, attorney and general counsel for Local 150 of the International Union of Operating Engineers, has brought suit against the National Institute for Labor Relations Research (NILRR) claiming the group defamed him in its online posts that reported on the union’s litigation effort to overturn Indiana’s Right-to-Work Act.

NILRR identifies itself as “a non-profit research facility analyzing and exposing the inequities of compulsory unionism.” It is located in Springfield, Virginia, and maintains a website at www.nilrr.org.

According to Pierson’s complaint, filed Oct. 18, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division, the NILRR published statements online on Sept. 12, 2014, under the headline “Operating Engineers Union Lawyer Flat-Out Lies to Indiana Supreme Court.” The complaint goes on to say that in that online post, Stan Greer, a senior research associate for NILRR, stated:

“How can it be, then, that Dale Pierson, the top lawyer for the other union seeking the overturn Indiana’s Right to Work law judicially, told the Indiana Supreme Court on September 4 that union officials representing only those who join and pay dues “is not a legal possibility”? (A video of the oral arguments in which Pierson claimed again and again that “the law does not allow members-only representation” is available at the end of the link below.)

The answer is, quite simple, that Pierson flat-out lied.”

Pierson asserts that statement and others published online by NILRR damaged his reputation. He seeks actual damages in excess of $50,000 and punitive damages in excess of $500,000.

The case has been assigned to Judge Philip P. Simon. A copy of the complaint is available here. We will continue to follow this lawsuit and provide updates.