US Labor Department obtains permanent injunction against Maine’s Sullivan Granite to ensure safety inspections of quarry
Brown’s Meadow Quarry operator blocked MSHA inspections repeatedly
ARLINGTON, Va. – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration has successfully obtained a permanent injunction against Sullivan Granite Co. LLC and its owner, Conrad J. Smith, ordering him to correct all safety hazards at Brown’s Meadow Quarry in Sullivan, Maine, and prohibiting him from refusing agency inspectors entry to conduct safety inspections.
The department obtained a temporary restraining order on Nov. 18, 2015, after the company’s representatives hindered inspections in August and September 2015, and also refused or failed to provide documents and information related to the inspections. MSHA inspectors attempted a re-inspection on Dec. 16, 2015, but the defendants defied the restraining order and interfered with the inspection. The department then moved for a contempt hearing.
Judge John A. Woodcock, Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maine signed the injunction on Oct. 24, 2016. It bars Smith and his company from refusing entry to MSHA inspectors and otherwise hindering or delaying the department in carrying out its duties under the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977. The order also prevents the defendants from violating orders issued by the Secretary of Labor under the act.
“MSHA conducts inspections to determine if hazards exist in mining operations and to require their correction if they do. It is essential that these inspections take place to prevent injuries and deaths of our nation’s miners,” said Joseph A. Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health.
“MSHA takes its obligation to inspect every mine, including every quarry, covered under the Mine Safety and Health Act very seriously,” said Michael Felsen, the department’s New England regional solicitor. “This lawsuit demonstrates the department’s commitment to the protection of every mine worker, and its determination that mine operators cooperate in ensuring their workers’ safety and health.”
Smith signed the settlement Oct. 24, 2016, agreeing to correct all cited safety violations from Aug. 17, 2015 through Aug. 18, 2015, and Sept. 1, 2015 through Dec. 16, 2016, as well as from any other MSHA inspections. The settlement contains provisions that subject Smith to sanctions the court deems appropriate if he fails to comply with its terms. MSHA re-inspected the mine on Oct. 5, 2016.
Read the department’s motion for a permanent injunction and the judge’s order granting the motion.
Attorneys James L. Polianites and Ralph Minichiello of the department’s regional solicitor’s office litigated the case for MSHA.
Section 108 of the Mine Act provides for injunctive relief against noncompliant mine operators who interfere with, hinder or delay inspections of mines. Additional information is available at http://www.msha.gov.
MSHA & SOL News Release: