Chaneyfield v. City of New York, No. 62

CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Second Circuit
Writing for the CourtBefore WATERMAN, OAKES and MESKILL; OAKES
Citation525 F.2d 1333
Parties1975-1976 O.S.H.D. ( 20,173 Samuel CHANEYFIELD, Appellant, v. The CITY OF NEW YORK and Mathews & Chase, Appellees. ocket 75--7183.
Decision Date05 April 1976
Docket NumberNo. 62,D

Page 1333

525 F.2d 1333
1975-1976 O.S.H.D. ( 20,173
Samuel CHANEYFIELD, Appellant,
v.
The CITY OF NEW YORK and Mathews & Chase, Appellees.
No. 62, Docket 75--7183.
United States Court of Appeals,
Second Circuit.
Argued Oct. 3, 1975.
Decided Nov. 14, 1975.
Certiorari Denied April 5, 1976.
See 96 S.Ct. 1509.

Page 1334

William J. Corcoran, Corcoran & Brady, New York City, for appellant.

Roy E. Pomerantz, New York City (Kenneth J. Balkan and Kroll, Edelman, Elser & Wilson, New York City, on the brief), for appellees.

Before WATERMAN, OAKES and MESKILL, Circuit Judges.

OAKES, Circuit Judge:

This appeal is from the dismissal of a complaint for personal injuries under the Federal Metal and Nonmetallic Mine Safety Act, 30 U.S.C. § 721 et seq. (hereafter the 'Mine Safety Act'). Judge Richard Owen, of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, concluded that the Mine Safety Act did not apply under the facts and, as no other federal claim was alleged, he dismissed the complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. We agree that the Mine Safety Act, enacted in 1966, confers no private right of action, and, although appellant seeks leave to amend his complaint, we affirm the dismissal of this action.

On September 13, 1971, appellant was the engineer of a Diesel locomotive being used to pull 'muck cars' in a tunnel under New York City's West Side. The muck cars were used to remove rock debris, known as 'Manhattan schist,' which was excavated in the construction of the tunnel. This debris was removed from the tunnel at West 79th Street and Riverside Drive. It was then apparently sold and removed to New Jersey, where it was to be used as fill or foundation at a stadium project.

The tunnel was being dug as a portion of the North River Water Pollution Control Project, and is to serve as part of the City's sewer system. Appellee City owns the tunnel and contracted with appellant's employer, who is not a party to this suit, for its excavation. Appellee Mathews & Chase is the City's consulting engineer on the project.

Appellant's affidavit alleges that he was injured when nine of the ten loaded muck cars his locomotive was pulling became uncoupled. The detached cars at first rolled slowly after the locomotive as it pulled away. But then, as the incline turned downward, the uncoupled cars rolled faster and faster until they

Page 1335

crashed against the rear of the one remaining car. This jolt caused the appellant to fall from the locomotive, resulting in severe injuries to his left arm.

It is appellant's contention that the tunnel project is a 'mine' within the meaning of the Mine Safety Act, 30 U.S.C. §§ 721(b), 722(a). He argues that the appellee City as owner of the 'mine' and Mathews & Chase as its supervising agent are liable to him for any injuries he sustained due to unsafe mine conditions.

The Mine Safety Act was, as appellant correctly asserts, doubtless enacted for the purpose of extending federal supervision of mine safety to mines of all type and character (other than coal and lignite mines which are regulated by a different statute, the Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969, 30 U.S.C. § 801 et seq.). As such the Mine Safety Act requires the Secretary of Interior to designate mandatory safety standards after public hearing, 30 U.S.C. § 725; it authorizes the Secretary to order the closing of dangerous mines, or areas thereof, or of those in which there has been a failure to abate violations of the mandatory safety standards, 30 U.S.C. §§ 727--28; it establishes a 'Safety Board of Review' to review the Secretary's closing orders, 30 U.S.C. §§ 729--30; and it establishes judicial review of the Safety Board's orders, 30 U.S.C. § 731. The Act further provides that the Secretary may seek injunctions to enforce orders made under the Act, 30 U.S.C. § 733(a), and that criminal penalties may be levied against a mine operator for refusal to obey valid orders where the failure to comply could result in death or serious bodily harm, 30 U.S.C. § 733(b). The statute, however, explicitly does not 'enlarge or diminish or affect in any other manner the common law or statutory rights, duties, or liabilities of employers and employees . . . in respect of injuries . . . arising out of, or in the course of, employment.' 30 U.S.C. § 738(c). 1

Neither anything in the Mine Safety Act nor any authority referred to us by counsel or discovered by us upon research purports to suggest that the Act creates a private right of action by an injured employee against the mine operator, or the operator's agents, for violation of the Act. Congress knows full well how to create a private civil right of action to protect employees from dangerous working conditions. Two obvious examples are the Federal Employers' Liability Act, 45 U.S.C. § 51, and the Jones Act, 46 U.S.C. § 688. The plain language chosen by Congress to effect its remedial purpose in those enactments suggests, by contrast to the absence of such expression in the Mine Safety Act, that the governmental purpose of insuring mine safety is to be achieved by government regulation, rather than by private civil actions.

It is true that in J. I. Case Co. v. Borak, 377 U.S. 426, 432--34, 84 S.Ct. 1555, 12 L.Ed.2d 423 (1964), for example, the Supreme Court held in connection with Section 14(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, 15 U.S.C. §...

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7 practice notes
  • Gunnells v. United States, Civ. A. No. 75-0026-H.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. Southern District of West Virginia
    • March 31, 1981
    ...United States, 488 F.Supp. 757 (D.Idaho 1980); Mosley v. United States, 456 F.Supp. 671 (E.D.Tenn.1978); Chaneyfield v. City of New York, 525 F.2d 1333 (2d Cir. 1975), cert. denied, 425 U.S. 912, 96 S.Ct. 1509, 47 L.Ed.2d 763 (1976). Such federal inspection provisions have no counterpart in......
  • Carroll v. United States, Civ. No. 77-2060.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. District of Idaho
    • April 11, 1980
    ...of this case. Initially, it is clear that no private right of action arises under the Mine Safety Act. Chaneyfield v. City of New York, 525 F.2d 1333 (2d Cir. 1975), cert. denied, 425 U.S. 912, 96 S.Ct. 1509, 47 L.Ed.2d 763 (1976). It is also clear that allegations of negligence in the enfo......
  • Greene v. Long Island R. Co., No. CV 98-4316.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
    • June 2, 2000
    ...concurring). By its express terms, FELA applies only to "common carriers." See 45 U.S.C. § 51; Chaneyfield v. City of New York, 525 F.2d 1333, 1336 (2d Cir.1975). The Supreme Court has construed this term simply, to mean "one who operates a railroad as a means of carrying for......
  • Mosley v. United States, No. CIV-2-77-177.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. Eastern District of Tennessee
    • July 11, 1978
    ...other than coal and lignite mines (which are regulated under different statutes). Chaneyfield v. City of New York, C.A. 2d (1975), 525 F.2d 1333, 1335, certiorari denied (1976), 425 U.S. 912, 96 S.Ct. 1509, 47 L.Ed.2d 763. It was not the congressional intention, however, to create thereby a......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
7 cases
  • Gunnells v. United States, Civ. A. No. 75-0026-H.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. Southern District of West Virginia
    • March 31, 1981
    ...United States, 488 F.Supp. 757 (D.Idaho 1980); Mosley v. United States, 456 F.Supp. 671 (E.D.Tenn.1978); Chaneyfield v. City of New York, 525 F.2d 1333 (2d Cir. 1975), cert. denied, 425 U.S. 912, 96 S.Ct. 1509, 47 L.Ed.2d 763 (1976). Such federal inspection provisions have no counterpart in......
  • Carroll v. United States, Civ. No. 77-2060.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. District of Idaho
    • April 11, 1980
    ...of this case. Initially, it is clear that no private right of action arises under the Mine Safety Act. Chaneyfield v. City of New York, 525 F.2d 1333 (2d Cir. 1975), cert. denied, 425 U.S. 912, 96 S.Ct. 1509, 47 L.Ed.2d 763 (1976). It is also clear that allegations of negligence in the enfo......
  • Greene v. Long Island R. Co., No. CV 98-4316.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
    • June 2, 2000
    ...concurring). By its express terms, FELA applies only to "common carriers." See 45 U.S.C. § 51; Chaneyfield v. City of New York, 525 F.2d 1333, 1336 (2d Cir.1975). The Supreme Court has construed this term simply, to mean "one who operates a railroad as a means of carrying for......
  • Mosley v. United States, No. CIV-2-77-177.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. Eastern District of Tennessee
    • July 11, 1978
    ...other than coal and lignite mines (which are regulated under different statutes). Chaneyfield v. City of New York, C.A. 2d (1975), 525 F.2d 1333, 1335, certiorari denied (1976), 425 U.S. 912, 96 S.Ct. 1509, 47 L.Ed.2d 763. It was not the congressional intention, however, to create thereby a......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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