Pyro Min. Co. v. Slaton, Nos. 88-3051

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBOYCE F. MARTIN, Jr.
Citation879 F.2d 187
PartiesPYRO MINING COMPANY, et al. (88-3051); Apache Mining Company, et al. (88-3052); Warner Coal Company (88-3665); Petitioners, v. John M. SLATON, et al. (88-3051); Millis Roberts, et al. (88-3052); L.C. Saylor, et al. (88-3665); Respondents.
Decision Date29 June 1989
Docket NumberNos. 88-3051,88-3052 and 88-3665

Page 187

879 F.2d 187
58 USLW 2050
PYRO MINING COMPANY, et al. (88-3051); Apache Mining
Company, et al. (88-3052); Warner Coal Company
(88-3665); Petitioners,
v.
John M. SLATON, et al. (88-3051); Millis Roberts, et al.
(88-3052); L.C. Saylor, et al. (88-3665); Respondents.
Nos. 88-3051, 88-3052 and 88-3665.
United States Court of Appeals,
Sixth Circuit.
Argued May 15, 1989.
Decided June 29, 1989.

Page 188

Laura Metcoff Klaus, Mark E. Solomons (argued), Arter & Hadden, Washington, D.C., for petitioners.

Henry E. Hayden, Hayden & McKown, Hartford, Ky., Byron L. Hobgood, Charles Frankin (argued), Madisonville, Ky., for John M. Slaton.

Rae Ellen Frank James, Asst. Sol., Washington, D.C., Barbara J. Johnson, Nicholas J. Levintow, Thomas L. Holzman, Sylvia T. Kaser (argued), U.S. Dept. of Labor, Office of the Solicitor, Washington, D.C., for Office of Workers' Compensation Programs.

Stephen R. Chappell (argued), Landrum & Shouse, Lexington, Ky., for L.C. Saylor.

Before MARTIN and BOGGS, Circuit Judges; and CONTIE, Senior Circuit Judge.

BOYCE F. MARTIN, Jr., Circuit Judge.

In these consolidated cases, petitioners Pyro Mining Company, Apache Mining Company, Warner Coal Company and Old Republic Insurance Company seek review of a decision of the Benefits Review Board denying them an opportunity for a hearing before an administrative law judge in claims arising under Part C of the Black Lung Benefits Act, 30 U.S.C. Secs. 901-945. Because of our holding in Warner Coal Company v. Director, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs, 804 F.2d 346 (6th Cir.1986) and the applicable statutory and regulatory provisions, we reverse the decision of the Benefits Review Board.

The relevant procedural history of the three cases is substantially similar. In all cases, the Department of Labor allegedly failed to provide adequate notice of the pendency of black lung claims to the insurance carrier for the claimants' employers. Petitioners contend that, because of the improper and inadequate notice of claims, they were unable to file a responsive pleading within the required thirty-day period. Due to the petitioners' untimely filing of their controversion forms, the Department of Labor entered default judgments against them. Although the Department's deputy commissioner did not believe that inadequate notice constituted "good cause" for the petitioners' failure to respond within the thirty-day period, he agreed to their request for an adjudication of the good cause issue by an administrative law judge.

Following the requested hearings, the administrative law judges, in all three cases, found good cause for the petitioners' delay in filing their pleadings and ruled the pleadings were timely. Subsequently, the Benefits Review Board issued orders in the Slaton and Saylor cases vacating the administrative law judges' decisions, stating that the administrative law judges acted beyond their jurisdiction in determining whether the petitioners showed good cause. Slaton v. Pyro Mining Company, BRB No. 82-1150 (May 15, 1985); Saylor v. Warner Coal Company and Old Republic Companies, BRB No. 82-1026 (February 28, 1985). In the third case, Roberts, the administrative law judge reversed himself on the basis of the Board's holdings in Slaton and Saylor, concluding that he had no jurisdiction to consider good cause and remanding the case to the deputy commissioner. In the Matter of Millis Roberts, Case No. 83-BLA-3915 (November 14, 1985). The petitioners then appealed the

Page 189

Board's decisions in Slaton and Saylor to this court in the case of Warner Coal, 804 F.2d 346 (6th Cir.1986). Following our decision in Warner Coal, the Board, on remand, issued further orders again vacating the decisions of the administrative law judges in Slaton and Saylor on the ground that an administrative law judge had no jurisdiction to review the deputy commissioner's conclusion that good cause was not shown for the petitioners' untimely filing of their controversion forms. Slaton v. Pyro Mining Company and Old Republic Companies, BRB No. 82-1150 (November 30, 1987); Saylor v. Warner Company and Old Republic Companies, BRB No. 82-1026 (April 14, 1988). Similarly, the Board held, in its review of the deputy commissioner's decision on remand in Roberts, that the administrative law judge had no authority to determine whether good cause existed for the untimely controversion. Roberts v. Apache Mining Company and Old Republic Companies, BRB No. 85-2861 (December 31, 1987). The petitioners now appeal all three cases to this court.

On appeal, the petitioners make two major arguments. First, the petitioners argue that an administrative law judge has jurisdiction to decide whether the Department of Labor provided adequate notice to them concerning the pendency of black lung benefits claims. Second, the petitioners contend that the administrative law judges in the Slaton and Saylor cases did not err in excusing for good cause the petitioners' untimely filing of their controversion forms. We agree with petitioners that, under our decision in Warner Coal, an administrative law judge does have jurisdiction to decide whether adequate notice was provided to the...

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35 practice notes
  • Glen Coal Co. v. Seals, No. 96-4121
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Sixth Circuit
    • June 24, 1998
    ...committed any legal errors or exceeded its statutory scope of review of the ALJ's factual determinations. See Pyro Mining Co. v. Slaton, 879 F.2d 187 (6th Cir.1989). Furthermore, as in the court of appeals' review of a district court decision, the court of appeals may affirm the decision of......
  • Arch Coal, Inc. v. Hugler, Civil Action No. 16–669 (JDB)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • March 16, 2017
    ...the ALJ makes a de novo determination of the Responsible Operator's liability. See 20 C.F.R. § 725.455(a) ; Pyro Mining Co. v. Slaton , 879 F.2d 187, 190 (6th Cir. 1989). In that hearing, the District Director "bears the burden of proof that the responsible operator is potentially liable." ......
  • Robbins v. Cyprus Cumberland Coal Co., No. 97-3277
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • July 21, 1998
    ...thereon." 33 U.S.C. § 919(c), as incorporated by 30 U.S.C. § 932(a); see also Cunningham, 144 F.3d at 388; Pyro Mining Co. v. Slaton, 879 F.2d 187, 190 (6th Cir.1989) (holding that the statute gives parties a "right to a hearing before an administrative law judge on all questions in respect......
  • Reich v. Youghiogheny and Ohio Coal Co., No. 94-3728
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • September 22, 1995
    ...regulations of the Secretary of Labor. 30 U.S.C. Sec. 932(a); 20 C.F.R. Sec. 725.1(j). Page 114 See generally Pyro Mining Co. v. Slaton, 879 F.2d 187, 189-90 (6th Cir.1989) (discussing adjudicatory and review procedures applicable to claims under the Act). Thus, the Federal Rules of Civil P......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
35 cases
  • Glen Coal Co. v. Seals, No. 96-4121
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Sixth Circuit
    • June 24, 1998
    ...committed any legal errors or exceeded its statutory scope of review of the ALJ's factual determinations. See Pyro Mining Co. v. Slaton, 879 F.2d 187 (6th Cir.1989). Furthermore, as in the court of appeals' review of a district court decision, the court of appeals may affirm the decision of......
  • Arch Coal, Inc. v. Hugler, Civil Action No. 16–669 (JDB)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • March 16, 2017
    ...the ALJ makes a de novo determination of the Responsible Operator's liability. See 20 C.F.R. § 725.455(a) ; Pyro Mining Co. v. Slaton , 879 F.2d 187, 190 (6th Cir. 1989). In that hearing, the District Director "bears the burden of proof that the responsible operator is potentially liable." ......
  • Robbins v. Cyprus Cumberland Coal Co., No. 97-3277
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • July 21, 1998
    ...thereon." 33 U.S.C. § 919(c), as incorporated by 30 U.S.C. § 932(a); see also Cunningham, 144 F.3d at 388; Pyro Mining Co. v. Slaton, 879 F.2d 187, 190 (6th Cir.1989) (holding that the statute gives parties a "right to a hearing before an administrative law judge on all questions in respect......
  • Reich v. Youghiogheny and Ohio Coal Co., No. 94-3728
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • September 22, 1995
    ...regulations of the Secretary of Labor. 30 U.S.C. Sec. 932(a); 20 C.F.R. Sec. 725.1(j). Page 114 See generally Pyro Mining Co. v. Slaton, 879 F.2d 187, 189-90 (6th Cir.1989) (discussing adjudicatory and review procedures applicable to claims under the Act). Thus, the Federal Rules of Civil P......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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