Western Oilfields Supply Co. v. Secretary of Labor, No. 18-1296 (D.C. Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
The DC Circuit denied Rain for Rent's petition for review of a $116 fine under the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977. Rain for Rent was given a citation after an employee forgot to set the parking brake on a company truck, in violation of a safety standard governing unattended vehicles.
The court rejected Rain for Rent's contention that its employee was not within the jurisdiction of the Mine Act at the moment the citation was issued. The court held that, under the Mine Act, the requirement is that the contractor -- not the particular employee on whom the citation is served -- be engaged in work at the mine, which Rain for Rent was. The court also held that the inspection did not violate section 103(f) of the Mine Act, and there was no violation of Rain for Rent's walkaround rights. Furthermore, even if there had been a violation of Rain for Rent's walkaround rights, the court rejected the contention that the violation warranted vacatur or suppression. The court explained that the statute did not expressly state the consequences of violating section 103(f). Finally, the court rejected Rain for Rent's contention that the warrantless inspection of its truck violated the Fourth Amendment because Rain for Rent was not afforded an opportunity for precompliance review. The court has never held that precompliance review is necessary for the constitutionality of warrantless administrative searches in a closely regulated industry like mining.