The Division of Black Lung and Longshore Legal Services (BLLLS) provides legal services in connection with federal statutes that afford benefits to certain workers who are injured or die as a result of their employment, and to the survivors of those workers. These statutes, which are administered by the Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (OWCP), are:

The Division advises OWCP on its legal obligations in administering the statutes, and aids in preparing regulations that implement the statutes. In addition, Division attorneys represent OWCP in appellate litigation before the Benefits Review Board and the U.S. Courts of Appeals. Division attorneys regularly participate in appeals to defend the agency's interests and present the agency's interpretations of the statutes and their implementing regulations.

Representative Accomplishments

  • Provided legal advice and drafting assistance for a rule requiring all parties in a black lung benefits claim to disclose medical information developed about the miner. This important rule protects coal miners' health, assists unrepresented claimants, and promotes correct benefits decisions.
  • Persuaded the Fourth Circuit to uphold an OWCP regulation specifying the facts an employer must prove to rebut the Black Lung Benefits Act's presumption of total disability due to black lung disease. West Virginia CWP Fund v. Bender (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit) (brief decision).
  • Successfully defended OWCP's statutory interpretations in the United States Courts of Appeals:
    • Overseas contractors covered by the Defense Base Act are entitled to benefits even if injured outside the workplace, provided those injuries were reasonably foreseeable. Batelle Memorial Institute v. DiCecca (U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit) (brief decision);
    • A Black Lung Benefits Act amendment expanding the availability of survivors' benefits applies even to survivors who were denied benefits under the earlier, less encompassing standard. Union Carbide Corp. v. Richards (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit) (brief decision).
  • Assisted the Solicitor General's Office in successfully defending OWCP's interpretation of the Longshore Act's maximum benefits provision before the U.S. Supreme Court. Roberts v. Sea-Land Services (brief decision)

What We Do

The Division's attorneys:

  • Brief and argue appeals before the Benefits Review Board and the United States Courts of Appeals and assist the Solicitor General in cases before the Supreme Court;
  • Draft and review program regulations;
  • Review or assist in the drafting of proposed legislation and Congressional testimony;
  • Enforce benefits awards;
  • Protect the government's interests in employer bankruptcies; and
  • Provide legal advice on a variety of matters, including:
    • Agency policies;
    • Initiatives to improve operation of the programs; and
    • Agency training and guidance.

Our attorneys are not restricted to one area of work, but undertake a variety of assignments under the supervision of the Division's managers.

DOL Agencies Supported

Contact Information

200 Constitution Ave NW
Room N-2119
Washington, DC 20210

202-693-5660
Fax: 202-693-5687

Associate Solicitor Barry H. Joyner
Deputy Associate Solicitor Jennifer Feldman
Counsel for Administrative Litigation and Legal Advice Michael J. Rutledge
Counsel for Appellate Litigation Gary K. Stearman
Counsel for Appellate Litigation and Enforcement Sean G. Bajkowski
Counsel for Longshore Mark A. Reinhalter
Counsel for Regulations and Legislation Patricia M. Nece
Staff Assistant Brenda W. Crawford

 

Published Legal Briefs

Case Brief Type Date

Island Creek Coal Co. v. Daniel Looney and Director, OWCP

Brief/Memorandum in Support of Motion

03/05/2021

K & R Contractors, LLC v. Michael D. Keene and Director, OWCP

Brief/Memorandum in Support of Motion

02/04/2021

Decker Coal Company v. Jerry Pehringer and Director, OWCP

Brief/Memorandum in Support of Motion

12/14/2020

Nancy Bailey, on behalf of Charlie Bailey v. Director, OWCP

Brief/Memorandum in Support of Motion

10/26/2020

Owensby & Kritikos, LLP v. Director, OWCP and James Boudreaux

Brief/Memorandum in Support of Motion

06/19/2020

Jeffrey G. Carswell; Brent Hanson; Heinz H. Erikson v. E. Pihl and Sons, Topsoe-Jensen & Shroeder, LTD; Danish Construction Corp.; and Director, OWCP

Brief/Memorandum in Support of Motion

05/22/2020

Michael R. Robirds v. ICSTI Oregon, Inc., and Director, OWCP

Brief/Memorandum in Support of Motion

05/20/2020

Consol of Kentucky, Inc. v. Allen Madden and Director, OWCP 

Brief/Memorandum in Support of Motion

05/20/2020

Karst Robbins Coal Co., Inc. and Bituminous Casualty Corp. v. Director, OWCP and Marlin D. Rice

Brief/Memorandum in Support of Motion

04/04/2020

Terry Eagle Limited Partnership v. Merle H. Payne and Director, OWCP

Brief/Memorandum in Support of Motion

03/12/2020

Consolidation Coal Company  v. Terry L. Shipley and Director, OWCP

Brief/Memorandum in Support of Motion

01/09/2020

Aberry Coal, Inc. et al. v. Vadis Fields and Director, OWCP

Brief/Memorandum in Support of Motion

12/20/2019

Good Coal Company, Inc. v. Betty Sue Haynes, o/b/o Albert L. Haynes and Director, OWCP

Brief/Memorandum in Support of Motion

08/30/2019

Energy West Mining Co. v. Cecil Bristow and Director, OWCP

Brief/Memorandum in Support of Motion

7/23/2019

Island Creek Coal Co. v. Larry Allen Young and Director, OWCP

Brief/Memorandum in Support of Motion

7/19/2019

MMR Constructors, Inc. v. Director, OWCP and Henry T. Flores

Brief/Memorandum in Support of Motion

7/01/2019

Westmoreland Coal Co. v. Ronnie Stidham

Brief/Memorandum in Support of Motion

6/24/2019

National Mines Corporation, et. al. v. Steve Conley and Director, OWCP

Brief/Memorandum in Support of Motion

6/19/2019

David Stanley Consultants and Chartis Casualty Co. v. Director, OWCP and Thomas Peters

Brief/Memorandum in Support of Motion

6/03/2019

Expeditors & Production Service Co., Inc., v. Director, OWCP and Garrick Spain

Brief/Memorandum in Support of Motion

5/22/2019

Star Fire Coals, Inc. v. Director, OWCP and Margie Napier

Brief/Memorandum in Support of Motion

5/17/2019

Island Creek Coal Company v. Melyndia Bryan, on behalf of and survivor of Bert Fowler Bryan and Director, OWCP

Brief/Memorandum in Support of Motion

3/11/2019

International-Matex Tank Terminals v. Director, OWCP and Dwayne D. Victorian

Brief/Memorandum in Support of Motion

3/11/2019

Rebecca Dominguez v. Bethlehem Steel Corp. and Director, OWCP

Brief for the Federal Respondent

2/25/2019

Energy West Mining Company v. James E. Lyle and Director, OWCP

Brief for the Federal Respondent

2/11/2019

Charles Zumwalt v. Nat'l Steel & Shipbuilding Co. et al. and Director, OWCP

Brief for the Federal Respondent

2/01/2019

Steve M. Bussanich v. Ports America, Ports America Insurance Company and Director, OWCP

Brief for the Federal Respondent

1/31/2019

Wood Group Production Services v. Director, OWCP and Luigi Malta

Brief for the Federal Respondent

12/07/2018

Freestone Coal Co., Inc. et al. v. Director, OWCP, and Herbert W. Roberts

Brief for the Federal Respondent

11/05/2018

Consolidation Coal Company v. Director, OWCP and Ralph Ross

Brief for the Federal Respondent

10/24/2018

Island Creek Coal Company v. Jay H. Wilkerson and Director, OWCP

Sur-Reply for the Federal Respondent

10/04/2018

Mac Coleman v. Christen Coleman Trucking and Kentucky Employers Mutual Insurance and Director, OWCP

Brief for the Federal Respondent

10/04/2018

Rockwood Cas. Ins. Co., insurer of Hidden Splendor Res., Inc. v. Director, OWCP and Tony N. Kourianos

Brief for the Federal Respondent

8/24/2018

West Virginia CWP Fund, as carrier for, Mountain Laurel Resources Company v. Donald Bell, Sr. and Director, OWCP

Brief for the Federal Respondent

8/06/2018

Dominguez v. Bethlehem Steel Corp. and Director, OWCP

Brief/Memorandum in Support of Motion

7/31/2018

Big Horn Coal Company v. Sylvia Sadler, widow of and on behalf of Edgar Ross Sadler, and Director, OWCP

Brief for the Federal Respondent

7/20/2018

Conesville Coal Preparation and East Coast Risk Management v. Robert W. Porth and Director, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs, United States of Labor

Brief for the Federal Respondent

6/28/2018

BrickStreet Mutual Insurance Company v. Mark A. VanDyke, Paramount Coal Company, LLC, and Director, OWCP

Brief for the Federal Respondent

6/18/2018

U.S. Steel Mining Co. v. Director, OWCP and Cassandra Terry

Brief for the Federal Respondent

6/08/2018

Imogene Shepherd v. Incoal, Inc. and Director, OWCP

Brief for the Federal Respondent

6/05/2018

Kenwest Terminals, LLC v. Vickie S. Salyers and Director, OWCP

Brief for the Federal Respondent

4/30/2018

Island Creek Coal Company v. Linda Hunt and Director, OWCP

Brief/Memorandum in Support of Motion

3/09/2018

Oak Grove Resources, LLC and National Union Fire Resources/AIG v. Director, OWCP and Carrie K. Ferguson

Brief for the Federal Respondent

2/26/2018

Robert Coal Company and Old Republic Insurance Company v. Director, OWCP and Richard R. Crum

Brief for the Federal Respondent

2/20/2018

Island Creek Coal Company v. Robert E. Hill and Director, OWCP

Brief for the Federal Respondent

2/01/2018

Westmoreland Coal Company v. Director, OWCP and Vida M. Baird

Brief for the Federal Respondent

12/19/2017

Cedar Coal Company v. Pearl M. Barton, survivor of Clarence E. Barton and Director, OWCP

Brief for the Federal Respondent

12/15/2017

Zurich American Insurance Group (Insurer of Straight Creek Coal Resources) v. Joanna Duncan and Director, OWCP

Brief/Memorandum in Support of Motion

12/06/2017

Spring Creek Coal Company v. McClean and Director, OWCP

brief/ memorandum in support of motion

9/18/2017

Andalex Resources, Inc. v. Director, OWCP and Eddie Smith

brief for the Federal Respondent

7/10/2017

Ports America Louisiana, Inc. v. Director, OWCP and Alexander Scott

brief for the Federal Respondent

5/10/2017

Island Fork Construction v. Jimmy Bowling and Director, OWCP

brief for the Federal Respondent

4/10/2017

Zurich American Insurance Group (Insurer for Cannelton Industries, Inc.) v. Director, OWCP and Sylvester J. Linton

brief for the Federal Respondent

3/23/2017

Consolidation Coal Company v. Theodore M. Latusek, JR

brief, on petition for review

11/21/2016

Glenn A. Stewart v. Riverside Technology, Inc. and Transportation Insurance

brief, on petition for review

11/07/2016

Frontier Kemper Constructors, Inc. v. Director, OWCP and Grat M. Smith

brief/ memorandum in Support of Motion

10/28/2016

Jones Stevedoring Co. v. Popovich & Director, OWCP

brief/ memorandum in Support of Motion

8/15/2016

Elkay Mining Co. v. Hazel C. Smith, widow of Edward W. Smith and Director, OWCP

brief/ memorandum in Support of Motion

8/05/2016

Appleton & Ratliff Coal Corp., et al. v. Dewey Ratliff and Director, OWCP

brief/ memorandum in Support of Motion

6/20/2016

Helen Mining Co. v. James E. Elliott, Sr. and Director, OWCP

brief/ memorandum in Support of Motion

6/15/2016

Westmoreland Coal Company v. Director, OWCP and Gerald W. Mabe

brief/ memorandum in Support of Motion

5/09/2016

Metro Machine Corp. v. John Stephenson and Director, OWCP

brief/ memorandum in Support of Motion

3/14/2016

Westmoreland Coal Co., Inc. v. Johnny Fortner and Director, OWCP

brief/ memorandum in Support of Motion

3/07/2016

Chugach Management Service, et al. v. Edwin Jetnil and Director, OWCP

brief/ memorandum in Support of Motion

2/09/2016

James Baker, Jr. v. Director, OWCP and Gulf Island Marine Fabricators, LLC

brief for the Federal Respondent

1/29/2016

Dixie Fuel Co. LLC, and Bituminous Casualty Corp., v. Arlis Hensley and Director, OWCP

brief for the Federal Respondent

12/23/2015

McElroy Coal Corp. v. Roger D. Kennedy and Director, OWCP

brief in support of motion

8/07/2015

Deltide Fishing and Rental Tools, Inc. v. Director, OWCP et al.

brief in support of motion

5/09/2015

Ari Navalo v. Cochise Consultancy, Inc. and Ace American Insurance Company and Director, OWCP

brief for the federal respondent

3/04/2015

Eighty Four Mining Company v. Director, OWCP, and Charles E. Morris

brief for the federal respondent

2/26/2015

NBL Coal Company Inc and Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. v. Director, OWCP and Troy A. Moore

brief for the federal respondent

2/19/2015

West Virginia CWP Fund, as carrier for Pen Coal Corp. v. Kenneth Gregory & Director, OWCP

brief for the federal respondent

2/18/2015

Ceres Marine Terminals, Inc. v. Director, OWCP and Samuel P. Jackson

brief for the federal respondent

1/28/2015

Premium Coal Co., Inc.; Old Republic Insurance Company v. Director, OWCP and Reddin Byrge

brief for the federal respondent

1/28/2015

Blue Mountain Energy and Old Republic Insurance Company v. Terry Gunderson and Director, OWCP

brief for the federal respondent

1/21/2015

Patricia Padagomas, Widow of and On Behalf of Edward J. Padagomas v. Director, OWCP

brief for the federal respondent

1/14/2015

Eastern Associated Coal Corp. v. Arvis R. Toler and Director, OWCP

brief for the federal respondent

1/28/2015

Battelle Memorial Institute and Vigilant Insurance Company v. Sandra DiCecca and Director, OWCP

brief for the federal respondent

12/17/2014

Leeco, Inc. and James River Coal Company v. Darrell May and Director, OWCP

brief for the federal respondent

12/15/2014

Fenske v. Service Employees International, Inc., and Director, OWCP

brief for the federal respondent

11/13/2014

Brandywine Explosives and Supply v. Director, OWCP, and Kennard

brief for the federal respondent

11/12/2014

Sextet Mining Corporation v. Mary Whitfield (Widow of Needham Whitfield) and Director, OWCP

brief for the federal respondent

10/02/2014

Quarto Mining Company v. Marcum, and Director, OWCP

brief for the federal respondent

9/24/2014

Sewell Coal Company v. Dempsey and Director, OWCP

brief for the federal respondent

9/09/2014

Carpentertown Coal and Coke Company, and Birmingham Fire Insurance Company v. Director, OWCP, and Jenkins

brief for the federal respondent

8/08/2014

Drummond Company, Inc. v. Director, OWCP, and Gardner

brief for the federal respondent

4/24/2014

Consolidation Coal Company v. Williams, and Director, OWCP

brief for the federal respondent

3/31/2014

Central Ohio Coal Company v. Director, OWCP, and Sterling

brief for the federal respondent

2/21/2014

Island Creek Coal Company v. Dykes, and Director, OWCP

brief for the federal respondent

2/18/2014

West Virginia CWP Fund, as insurer for Logan Coals, Inc. v. Bender, and Director, OWCP

brief for the federal respondent

2/14/2014

West Virginia CPW Fund v. Gump, and Director, OWCP

brief for the federal respondent

2/14/2014

West Virginia CPW Fund v. Adkins, and Director, OWCP

brief for the federal respondent

2/12/2014

Consolidation Coal Company v. Lake, and Director, OWCP

brief for the federal respondent

2/12/2014

Island Creek Coal Company v. Hargett, and Director, OWCP

brief for the federal respondent

2/10/2014

Eastern Associated Coal Company v. Director, OWCP, and Vest

brief for the respondent

2/03/2014

Consol of Kentucky, Inc. v. Atwell, and Director, OWCP

brief for the federal respondent

1/28/2014

Laurel Run Mining Company v. Maynard, and Director, OWCP

brief for the federal respondent

1/28/2014

West Virginia Coal Workers' Pneumoconiosis Fund v. Reed, and Director, OWCP

brief for the federal respondent

1/28/2014