Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Island Fork Construction v. Bowling

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

September 29, 2017

Island Fork Construction, Petitioner,
v.
Jimmy Bowling; Director, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs, Respondents.

         On Petition for Review of an Order of the Benefits Review Board. Nos. 16-0057 BLA; 2011 BLA 5956.

         ON BRIEF:

          H. Brett Stonecipher, FOGLE KELLER PURDY, Lexington, Kentucky, for Petitioner.

          Joseph E. Wolfe, M. Rachel Wolfe, WOLFE WILLIAMS & REYNOLDS, Norton, Virginia, for Respondent Bowling.

          Gary K. Stearman, Jeffrey S. Goldberg, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, Washington, D.C., for the Federal Respondent.

          Before: MOORE, STRANCH, and DONALD Circuit Judges.

          OPINION

          JANE B. STRANCH, CIRCUIT JUDGE.

         Jimmy Bowling worked as a coal miner for close to three decades. There is no dispute that he is eligible for benefits under the Black Lung Benefits Act. The question is who should pay the benefits to this disabled miner given that the responsible mine operator and the company that insured that operator are both insolvent. Two options exist-the federal Trust Fund and the Kentucky Insurance Guaranty Association (KIGA). The administrative law judge (ALJ) and Benefits Review Board (Board) both concluded that KIGA should provide benefits. We affirm the determination of the Review Board.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Factual History of Bowling's Employment

         Bowling worked as a coal miner for over 29 years. He spent most of that time as a foreman and substantially all of his work was underground. Bowling's last job was working for Island Fork Construction in a Kentucky mine where he moved belt lines, took out steel track, and produced coal. The parties do not dispute the facts underlying Bowling's claims or his eligibility for benefits.

         B. Procedural History of Bowling's Claims for Benefits

         In 2002, Bowling filed a claim for benefits under the Black Lung Benefits Act. An ALJ denied the claim in 2005, finding that Bowling was totally disabled, but that he had failed to establish that he had pneumoconiosis (black lung), or that pneumoconiosis caused his total disability. In 2010, Bowling filed the current claim for benefits. During the time intervening between these claims, a provision of the Affordable Care Act amended the Black Lung Benefits Act to reinstate a rebuttable presumption that claimants with respiratory disabilities and 15 years or more of underground coal-mining work experienced those disabilities as a result of pneumoconiosis. 30 U.S.C. § 921(c)(4). Bowling sought benefits pursuant to this presumption.

         The District Director, a Department of Labor employee responsible for processing claims, 20 C.F.R. § 725.418(d), issued a Notice of Claim that proposed designating Island Fork as the responsible operator. Island Fork contested all issues, including its status as responsible operator and Bowling's eligibility for benefits. In April 2011, the District Director issued a Proposed Decision and Order that awarded ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.