Cases & Deals

Dayton Tire achieves reassessment by D.C. Circuit of all willful allegations and penalties in OSHA matter regarding lockout/tagout standards

Clients Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc.

Jones Day represented Dayton Tire, a former division of Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc. in this OSHA matter. In a unanimous decision issued March 6, 2012, a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit held that the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission “lacked substantial supporting evidence for its finding that [Dayton Tire Division of Bridgestone/Firestone's]...violations [of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (“OSH Act”)] were willful.” In addition, the appeals court was highly critical of OSHRC's “dawdling” for over twelve years before issuing its decision.

When brought in 1994, the case attracted nationwide attention not only because the complaint alleged 107 willful violations of the OSH Act's lockout/tagout standard and proposed a penalty in excess of $7 million, then one of the largest proposed penalties ever assessed under that statute, but because the then U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, accompanied by a number of reporters and photographers, chose to personally hand-deliver the citation to Company officials in Oklahoma City. The trial on the lockout/tagout claims resulted in an Administrative Law Judge's decision dropping the number of willful violations from 107 to 37 and reducing the penalty to $518,000. On appeal, OSHRC increased the penalties to $1.975 million. The DC Circuit's decision vacating the OSHRC Order and directing OSHRC to reassess the appropriate penalty for the remaining serious violations, we anticipate will be much reduced from $1.975 million.

Dayton Tire v. Sec'y of Labor, No. 10-1362, 2012 WL 695521 (D.C. Cir. Mar. 6, 2012)

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