Zurich American Insurance Group v. Duncan

Widow: I am owed benefits under the federal Black Lung Benefits Act. Insurer: Your husband worked as an electrician in an above-ground strip mine, which is not “substantially similar” to working in an underground coal mine; the Act doesn’t cover you. Sixth Circuit: The Dep’t of Labor says she gets benefits, and we defer to them. Judge Kethledge, concurring: She is owed benefits, but not just because the agency says so. “I see no reason in this case to hand off the judicial power to an executive agency.” Judges are capable of figuring out what “substantially similar” means.

Tags: 2018, Administrative Law, DOL, Judge Kethledge, Labor Law, Scope of Review, Sixth Circuit

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