Skip to the main content.
Free Case Review




green lock security thumb

green lock security thumb



green lock security thumb

green lock security thumb



1 min read

Recent Mining Safety Case: Perry County Resources, LLC

Mining safety MSHA compliance

The case revolves around a crucial decision made by the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission (F.M.S.H.R.C.) regarding a civil penalty proceeding involving the Secretary of Labor, Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), and Perry County Resources, LLC. In this decision, the commission ultimately grants approval for a settlement between the two parties.

The document provides a summary of the four citations and associated penalties that Perry contested, highlighting the specific violations and proposed penalties. During the course of the proceedings, the Judge and the parties exchanged emails discussing the absence of the section 104(b) order from the record. Consequently, the Judge requested a copy of the order before making a ruling on the joint motion.

However, the Secretary declined to provide the order, arguing that it was not contested and therefore not relevant to the settlement. Despite this, the Judge ultimately denied the motion to approve the settlement, basing his decision on the belief that the section 104(b) order was necessary to complete the record. Consequently, the Secretary filed a petition for interlocutory review, which was granted by the Commission.

Upon reviewing the case, the Commission reversed the Judge's decision and granted approval for the settlement. They concluded that the Judge had abused his discretion by denying the motion. To support their conclusion, the Commission outlined their authority to approve settlements as a means of ensuring penalties serve as an effective enforcement tool.

The Commission's standard for reviewing settlements is based on whether they are fair, reasonable, appropriate, and protect the public interest. They also review a Judge's denial of a proposed settlement under an abuse of discretion standard. The Commission cited a previous case, Solar Sources Mining, LLC, where a Judge abused his discretion by denying a settlement motion for three reasons.

In the present case, the Commission found that the Judge had similarly abused his discretion by failing to apply the AmCoal I settlement standard and denying the settlement motion due to the Secretary's failure to provide a copy of the section 104(b) order. The Commission argued that the Judge should have requested further information from the parties if he felt the settlement motion lacked sufficient information. They further contended that the Judge erred by not evaluating the facts provided by the parties against the AmCoal standard.

Ultimately, the Commission approved the settlement, concluding that the parties had provided sufficient information to support the conclusion that the settlement was fair, reasonable, and appropriate.