614 F.2d 37 (4th Cir. 1980), 77-2614, Marshall v. Sink

Docket Nº:77-2614.
Citation:614 F.2d 37
Party Name:Ray MARSHALL, Secretary of Labor, Appellee, v. Charles T. SINK, trading and doing business as Sink Coal Company, Sink No. 1 Mine, Appellant.
Case Date:January 24, 1980
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
 
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614 F.2d 37 (4th Cir. 1980)

Ray MARSHALL, Secretary of Labor, Appellee,

v.

Charles T. SINK, trading and doing business as Sink Coal

Company, Sink No. 1 Mine, Appellant.

No. 77-2614.

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

January 24, 1980

Argued Oct. 4, 1979.

William W. Talbott, Webster Springs, W.Va. (Talbott & Alsop, Webster Springs, W.Va., on brief), for appellant.

Douglas N. Letter, Appellate Staff, Civ. Div., Dept. of Justice, Washington, D. C. (Carin Ann Clauss, Sol., Morell E. Mullins, Associate Sol., Thomas A. Mascolino, Federick W. Moncrief, Ronald Meisburg, Dept. of Labor, Barbara Allen Babcock, Asst. Atty. Gen., and Ronald R. Glancz, Appellate Staff, Civ. Div., Dept. of Justice, Washington, D. C., on brief), for Secretary of Labor.

Before BUTZNER and WIDENER, Circuit Judges, and ROSZEL C. THOMSEN, Senior United States District Judge for the District of Maryland, sitting by designation.

BUTZNER, Circuit Judge:

Charles T. Sink appeals from a decision of the district court upholding the constitutionality of warrantless, routine inspections under the Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969, 30 U.S.C. § 801 Et seq., and enjoining Sink from interfering with the inspections of his mine. The sole issue on appeal is whether 30 U.S.C. § 813, authorizing warrantless inspections of mines, violates Sink's fourth amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches. We affirm.

Sink owns and operates without employees a small mine in West Virginia. When federal coal mine inspectors attempted to make a routine inspection of Sink's mine pursuant to 30 U.S.C. § 813, Sink refused entry. The Secretary of the Interior then brought this action requesting the district court to enjoin Sink from interfering with

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inspections of the mine. 1 The district court granted a preliminary injunction, and Sink filed this appeal.

The parties do not dispute that coal mine inspections are searches within the meaning of the fourth amendment. Nor is it disputed that § 813(a) authorizes warrantless searches. It is also settled that Sink's mine is subject to federal regulation. 2 The only remaining issue is whether the warrantless inspections authorized by § 813(a) violate Sink's fourth amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches.

In Marshall v. Barlow's, Inc., 436 U.S. 307, 98 S.Ct. 1816, 56 L.Ed.2d 305 (1978), the Supreme Court, affirming the general rule that warrantless searches are unreasonable, held that warrantless inspections to enforce the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 violate the fourth amendment. See also Camara v. Municipal Court, 387 U.S. 523, 87 S.Ct. 1727, 18 L.Ed.2d 930 (1967) (building code); See v. Seattle, 387 U.S. 541, 87 S.Ct. 1737, 18 L.Ed.2d 943 (1967) (fire code)...

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