Fourth Circuit Summarily Affirms (Another) Miner’s Black Lung Benefits Award (McElroy Coal Co. v. Trader)

In what has become a regular pattern this year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has once again rejected—in the most summary way possible—a coal company’s arguments against a coal miner’s award of black lung benefits.

In last week’s decision in McElroy Coal Co. v. Trader (decision here), the Fourth Circuit declined to grant oral argument and issued a per curiam opinion using the court’s now standard language:  “Our review of the parties’ briefs and the record on appeal discloses that the Board’s decision is based upon substantial evidence and is without reversible error.  Accordingly, we deny the petition for review for the reasons stated by the Board.

The Benefits Review Board (decision here) previously rejected the company’s arguments, which essentially asked the appellate judges to reweigh the medical evidence.

McElroy Coal makes the sixth decision (see previous coverage here, here, and here) this year that uses the language quoted above to summarily deny petitions for review.  (In a seventh decision, Mud Lick Mining v. Hash the court used different language to the same effect.)

Congratulations to Heath Long for his success on behalf of Mr. Trader and to Jeffrey Goldberg and Gary Stearman of the Department of Labor’s Solicitor’s Office for their success on behalf of the Department.

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