824 F.2d 283 (3rd Cir. 1987), 86-3598, Caprini v. Director, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs, United States Dept. of Labor

Docket Nº:86-3598.
Citation:824 F.2d 283
Party Name:Thomas G. CAPRINI, Petitioner, v. DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF WORKERS' COMPENSATION PROGRAMS, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, Respondent.
Case Date:July 29, 1987
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
 
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Page 283

824 F.2d 283 (3rd Cir. 1987)

Thomas G. CAPRINI, Petitioner,

v.

DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF WORKERS' COMPENSATION PROGRAMS, UNITED

STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, Respondent.

No. 86-3598.

Submitted Pursuant to Third Circuit

United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit

July 29, 1987

Rule 12(6) April 30, 1987.

George R. Salem, Sol. of Labor, Donald S. Shire, Associate Sol., J. Michael O'Neill, Counsel for Appellate Litigation, Thomas L. Holzman, Asst. Counsel for Appellate Litigation, Michael J. Denney, U.S. Dept. of Labor, Washington, D.C., for respondent.

Michael E. Rigney, Jenner & Block, Chicago, Ill., for petitioner.

Before WEIS and STAPLETON, Circuit Judges, and SAROKIN, [*] District Judge.

OPINION

WEIS, Circuit Judge.

The question presented in this petition for review is whether regulations adopted by the Secretary of Labor pursuant to the 1977 amendments of the Black Lung Act should be applied to claims filed before, but adjudicated after, the effective date of the regulations. Taking a different view than the Benefits Review Board, we answer affirmatively and will remand for reevaluation under the current regulations.

Claimant was employed in several coal mines in Pennsylvania between 1922 and 1930. He moved to Chicago in 1930, where he worked in a print shop for the next forty years.

On October 8, 1974, claimant applied for benefits under Part C of the Black Lung Act, 30 U.S.C. Secs. 901-945. The claim was denied in 1976. After enactment of the Black Lung Benefits Reform Act of 1977, it was automatically reviewed pursuant to 30 U.S.C. Sec. 945(b)(1). At a hearing in 1983, an ALJ rejected the claimant's contention that the criteria in 20 C.F.R. Part 718 should apply to the evidence. Instead, the ALJ used the more restrictive standards of 20 C.F.R. Part 410 and denied the claim.

When Congress amended the Black Lung Act in 1977, it provided for reconsideration of certain claims that previously had been

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rejected. 30 U.S.C. Sec. 945. Those claims were to be reviewed under standards not more restrictive than those effective in 1973. 30 U.S.C. Sec. 902(f)(2). In addition, the Secretary of Labor was directed to promulgate new regulations establishing criteria for adjudicating black lung claims. 30 U.S.C. Sec. 902(f). Drafting those new regulations took two years, and they did not become effective until 1980. They...

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