B&G Constr. Co Inc. v. Dir., Office of Workers Comp. Programs, No. 10-4179 (3d Cir. 2011)Annotate this Case
Husband worked as a miner from 1970 to 1987. In 2000, he was found to be totally disabled by coal workers' pneumoconiosis and was awarded benefits under the Black Lung Benefits Act, 30 U.S.C. 901. He died in 2005. His widow sought survivor’s benefits. At the time, she was required to prove that pneumoconiosis caused, contributed to, or hastened husband's death. An ALJ denied the claim. The Board vacated. On remand, the ALJ again denied benefits. While appeal was pending, Congress amended the Act, retroactively applicable to claims filed after January 1, 2005. The Board reversed and remanded for an order awarding survivor's benefits, holding that section 932(l), as amended, entitled the widow to benefits because husband was receiving black lung benefits at the time of his death and her claim was filed after January 1, 2005. The First Circuit denied the company's petition for review. Under the amendment, the widow is entitled to benefits without having to file a new claim or otherwise revalidate husband's claim because she filed her claim after January 1, 2005. The company's claim that she failed to establish the cause of death is irrelevant. Section 932(l) as amended does not violate the Due Process Clause or Takings Clause.