West Virginia Record

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Murray Energy loses appeal involving alleged miner intimidation

By Kyla Asbury | May 11, 2019


WASHINGTON, D.C. — Murray American Energy lost an appeal in a suit claiming he intimidated miners when they reported unsafe working conditions.

A mandate was issued in the case on May 9 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

"In accordance with the judgment of March 12, 2019, and pursuant to Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 41, this constitutes the formal mandate of this court," the mandate stated. 

In the March 12 judgment, the court denied the petition for review and the board's cross-application for enforcement was granted.

The opinion stated that the appellate court agreed with a previous decision that Murray Energy intimidated workers and interfered with miners’ rights to report unsafe working conditions.

The court denied Murray Energy's petition to revisit an earlier ruling.

In February 2016, Union representative Michael S. Phillippi filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) claiming that Murray Energy had committed several violations of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) at the Monongalia County Mine.

In March, April, August, and October 2016, the union filed additional unfair labor practice charges complaining about allegedly unlawful activities at all four subsidiaries of Murray.

The complaint claimed Murray committed unfair labor practices in violation of four different sections of the NLRA, including interfering or coercing employees in the exercise of the rights guaranteed under the act.

"The Board found that Petitioner violated section 8(a)(1) when a supervisor instructed employees, during a meeting on safety issues, to submit their complaints regarding safety to management rather than to federal and state authorities," the opinion states. "Petitioner does not contest that discouraging safety complaints in this manner is unlawful."

The court found that the board’s decision and order are supported by substantial evidence, sound credibility determinations, reasoned decision-making and proper application of the law.

"Therefore, we deny the petition for review and grant the Board’s cross-application for enforcement," the opinion states.

United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit Case number: 18-1151

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U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit