D.C. Circuit Rules on Dayton Tire Case 14 Years After Accident

By Tanya Roth, Esq. on March 09, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The Federal Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled this week that the numerous citations by Dayton Tire will not be classified as willful citations, as characterized by the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

This decision came "grudgingly, as the court was clearly upset at the fact that OSHA's commission dragged their feet on their review -- an issue that was raised by Dayton Tire during the appeal.

The March 6 ruling, delivered by Judge Janice Rogers Brown, the court ordered the Commission to reassess the gravity of the violations by Dayton Tire, a subsidiary of Bridgestone Tire.

The case stems from a 1993 incident where an employee, Bob Julien, was killed during the course of a tragic workplace accident where a machine activated, unexpectedly.

After an inspection by OSHA, the company received 107 willful violations of the lockout/tagout standard, along with a $7.5 million fine.

The standard for a willful violation is a showing of plain indifference. The court claimed that it lacked sufficient evidence to find that the company's management did not care about safety at the plant, despite the fact that the safety managers could have done more to ensure safety at the plant.

As Dayton contested the violations, the case went to an administrative tribunal where in 1997, where a judge ruled that only 37 of the 107 violations were willful. The decision was set for review by OSHA's commission, who took twelve years to render a decision, finding all of the violations willful.

Dayton Tire alleged that the delay in the time the commission took to resolve the matter was a violation of the Administrative Procedures Act, which mandates that an agency resolve a matter within a reasonable time.

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