Donovan v. Dewey Case Brief

Facts of the Case

Pursuant to the authority granted by 103(a) of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 (30 USCS 813(a)), which provided that federal mine inspectors were to inspect all mines at set intervals to insure compliance with health and safety standards, to make follow-up inspections to determine whether previously discovered violations have been corrected, and which also authorized mine inspectors to inspect any coal or other mine without having first obtained a warrant, a federal mine inspector attempted to inspect quarries owned by appellee Waukesha Lime and Stone Co. in order to determine whether all 25 safety and health violations uncovered during a prior inspection had been corrected. After the inspector had been on the site for about an hour, Waukesha’s president, appellee Douglas Dewey, refused to allow the inspection to continue unless the inspector first obtain a search warrant. The inspector issued a citation to Waukesha for terminating the inspection, and the Secretary of Labor subsequently filed the present civil action in the District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin seeking to enjoin appellees from refusing to permit warrantless searches of the Waukesha facility. The District Court granted summary judgment in favor of appellees on the ground that the Fourth Amendment prohibited the warrantless searches of stone quarries authorized by § 103 (a) of the Act. The Secretary of Labor appealed directly before the United States Supreme Court.





Case Information

Citation: 452 US 594 (1981)
Argued: Apr 28, 1981
Decided: Jun 17, 1981
Case Brief: 1981