Consolidation Coal Co. v. Dir., Office of Workers' Comp. Programs, No. 12-1330 (7th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Burris worked in coal mines for 23 years. He twice sought benefits under the Black Lung Benefits Act, 30 U.S.C. 901, abandoning his first claim in 2001, and pursuing a second claim in 2006. After a hearing on the second claim, an Administrative Law Judge determined that Burris was totally disabled by pneumoconiosis arising from his coal mining employment and that he qualified for benefits. The Benefits Review Board affirmed. The Seventh Circuit denied a petition for review, rejecting arguments that the ALJ erred in finding that Burris established a material change in condition following his first, abandoned claim; in concluding that Burris proved 15 years of surface mine employment in conditions substantially similar to those that exist in underground mines; and in rejecting evidence rebutting a presumption of pneumoconiosis.