Monday, July 03, 2006

Fourth Circuit upholds preliminary injunction allowing UMWA as miners' representative in Sago Mine investigation
In United States Department of Labor v. Wolf Run Mining Company, Inc., the Fourth Circuit in an opinion by Judge Niemeyer, joined by Judges Shedd and Duncan, affirmed the district court's entry of a preliminary injunction sought by the Department of Labor to allow the United Mine Workers to participate in the investigation of the Sago Mine accident as the anonymously-designated representative of 2 of the 97 miners.

The company argued that it received insufficient notice that the Court was going to issue a preliminary injunction, as opposed to a temporary restraining order, and that on the merits, the Department was unlikely to succeed, for various reasons, including the argument that allowing the UMWA to participate would in some sense violate the National Labor Relations Act. The appeals court rejected the notice argument, and concluded that "even though the anonymous designation of miners’ representatives raises a serious legal question that has not been decided in the courts," the District Court did not abuse its discretion in granting the preliminary injunction.

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