MR. JUSTICE MARSHALL delivered the opinion of the Court.
Twenty-two coal mine operators (Operators) brought this suit to test the constitutionality of certain aspects of Title IV of the Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969, 83 Stat. 792, as amended by the Black Lung Benefits Act of 1972, 86 Stat. 150, 30 U. S. C. § 901 et seq. (1970 ed. and Supp. IV). The Operators, potentially liable under the amended Act to compensate certain miners, former miners, and their survivors for death or total disability due to pneumoconiosis arising out of employment in coal mines, sought declaratory and injunctive relief against the Secretary of Labor and the
On cross-motions for summary judgment, a three-judge District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, convened pursuant to 28 U. S. C. §§ 2282 and 2284, found the amended Act constitutional on its face, except in regard to two provisions concerning the determination of a miner's total disability due to pneumoconiosis. The court enjoined the Secretary of Labor from further application of those two provisions. 385 F.Supp. 424 (1974). After granting a stay of the three-judge court's order, 421 U.S. 944 (1975), we noted probable jurisdiction of the cross-appeals. 421 U.S. 1010 (1975). We conclude that the amended Act, as interpreted, is constitutionally sound against the Operators' challenges.
Coal workers' pneumoconiosis—black lung disease— affects a high percentage of American coal miners with severe, and frequently crippling, chronic respiratory impairment.
According to the Surgeon General, pneumoconiosis is customarily classified as "simple" or "complicated."
Removing the miner from the source of coal dust has so far proved the only effective means of preventing the contraction of pneumoconiosis, and once contracted the disease is irreversible in both its simple and complicated stages. No therapy has been developed. Finally, because the disease is progressive,
In order to curb the incidence of pneumoconiosis, Congress provided in Title II of the Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969, § 201 et seq., 30 U. S. C. § 841 et seq., for limits on the amount of dust to be permitted in the ambient air of coal mines. Additionally, in view of the then-established prevalence of irreversible pneumoconiosis among miners, and the insufficiency of state compensation programs, Congress passed Title IV of the 1969 Act, § 401 et seq., 30 U. S. C. § 901 et seq., to provide benefits to afflicted miners and their survivors. These benefit provisions were subsequently broadened by the Black Lung Benefits Act of 1972. 30 U. S. C. § 901 et seq. (1970 ed., Supp. IV).
As amended, the Act divides the financial responsibility for payment of benefits into three parts. Under Part B of Title IV, §§ 411-414, 30 U. S. C. §§ 921-924 (1970 ed. and Supp. IV), claims filed between December 30, 1969, the date of enactment, and June 30, 1973, are adjudicated by the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare and paid by the United States.
Under Part C of Title IV, §§ 421-431, 30 U. S. C. §§ 931-941 (1970 ed. and Supp. IV), claims filed after December 31, 1973, are to be processed under an applicable state workmen's compensation law approved by the Secretary of Labor under the standards set forth in § 421, 30 U. S. C. § 931 (1970 ed. and Supp. IV). In
Claims filed during the transition period between the Federal Government benefit provision under Part B, and state plan or operator benefit provision under Part C— that is, July 1 to December 31, 1973—are adjudicated
The Act provides that a miner shall be considered "totally disabled," and consequently entitled to compensation, "when pneumoconiosis prevents him from engaging in gainful employment requiring the skills and abilities comparable to those of any employment in a mine or mines in which he previously engaged with some regularity and over a substantial period of time." § 402 (f), 30 U. S. C. § 902 (f) (1970 ed., Supp. IV).
The other presumptions are each explicitly rebuttable by an operator seeking to avoid liability. There are three such presumptions. First, if a miner with 10 or more years' employment in the mines contracts pneumoconiosis, it is rebuttably presumed that the disease arose out of such employment. § 411 (c) (1), 30 U. S. C. § 921 (c) (1) (1970 ed., Supp. IV). Second, if a miner with 10 or more years' employment in the mines died from a "respirable disease," it is rebuttably presumed that his death was due to pneumoconiosis. § 411 (c) (2), 30 U. S. C. § 921 (c) (2) (1970 ed., Supp. IV). Finally, if a miner, or the survivor of a miner, with 15 or more years' employment in underground coal mines is able, despite the absence of clinical evidence of complicated pneumoconiosis, to demonstrate a totally disabling respiratory or pulmonary impairment, the Act rebuttably presumes that the total disability is due to pneumoconiosis, that the miner was totally disabled by pneumoconiosis when he died, and that the miner's death was due to pneumoconiosis. § 411 (c) (4), 30 U. S. C. § 921 (c) (4) (1970 ed., Supp. IV).
In initiating this suit against the defendant Secretaries (hereafter Federal Parties), the Operators contended that the amended Act is unconstitutional insofar as it requires the payment of benefits with respect to miners who left employment in the industry before the effective date of the Act; that the Act's definitions, presumptions, and limitations on rebuttal evidence unconstitutionally impair the operators' ability to defend against benefit claims; and that certain regulations promulgated by the Secretary of Labor regarding the apportionment of liability for benefits among operators, and the provision of medical benefits, are inconsistent with the Act and constitutionally defective.
The Operators' appeal, No. 74-1316, reasserts the constitutional challenges rejected by the District Court.
The Federal Parties direct our attention initially to National Independent Coal Operators Assn. v. Brennan, 372 F.Supp. 16 (DC), summarily aff'd, 419 U.S. 955 (1974), which raised a number of issues identical to those presented here. Our summary affirmance in that case did not foreclose the District Court's determination of unconstitutionality regarding §§ 411 (c) (3) and (4), those issues not having been before us on the appeal. Several questions presented here—most notably those of retroactivity and preclusion of sole reliance on X-ray testimony evidence—were raised and decided in National Independent Coal Operators Assn. v. Brennan, but having heard oral argument and entertained full briefing on these issues together with the other questions raised in the case, we proceed to treat them here more fully. Cf. Edelman v. Jordan, 415 U.S. 651, 670-671 (1974).
The Operators contend that the amended Act violates the Fifth Amendment Due Process Clause by requiring them to compensate former employees who terminated their work in the industry before the Act was passed,
It is by now well established that legislative Acts adjusting the burdens and benefits of economic life come to the Court with a presumption of constitutionality, and that the burden is on one complaining of a due process violation to establish that the legislature has acted in an arbitrary and irrational way. See, e. g., Ferguson v. Skrupa, 372 U.S. 726 (1963); Williamson v. Lee Optical Co., 348 U.S. 483, 487-488 (1955). And this Court long ago upheld against due process attack the competence of Congress to allocate the interlocking economic rights and duties of employers and employees upon workmen's compensation principles analogous to those enacted here, regardless of contravening arrangements between employer and employee. New York Central R. Co. v. White, 243 U.S. 188 (1917); see also Philadelphia, B. & W. R. Co. v. Schubert, 224 U.S. 603 (1912).
To be sure, insofar as the Act requires compensation for disabilities bred during employment terminated
It does not follow, however, that what Congress can legislate prospectively it can legislate retrospectively.
We find, however, that the imposition of liability for the effects of disabilities bred in the past is justified as a rational measure to spread the costs of the employees' disabilities to those who have profited from the fruits of their labor—the operators and the coal consumers. The Operators do not challenge Congress' power to impose the burden of past mine working conditions on the industry. They do claim, however, that the Act spreads costs in an arbitrary and irrational manner by basing liability upon past employment relationships, rather than taxing all coal mine operators presently in business. The Operators note that a coal mine operator whose work force has declined may be faced with a total liability that is disproportionate to the number of miners currently employed. And they argue that the liability scheme gives an unfair competitive advantage to new entrants into the industry, who are not saddled with the burden of compensation for inactive miners' disabilities. In essence the Operators contend that competitive forces will prevent them from effectively passing on to the consumer the costs of compensation for inactive miners' disabilities, and will unfairly leave the burden on the early operators alone.
Of course, as we have already indicated, a substantial portion of the burden for disabilities stemming from the period prior to enactment is borne by the Federal Government. But even taking the Operators' argument at face value, it is for Congress to choose between imposing the burden of inactive miners' disabilities on all operators, including new entrants and farsighted early operators who might have taken steps to minimize black lung dangers, or to impose that liability solely on those early operators whose profits may have been increased at the expense of their employees' health. We are unwilling to assess the
The Operators ultimately rest their due process argument on Railroad Retirement Board v. Alton R. Co., 295 U.S. 330 (1935), in which the Court found the Railroad Retirement Act of 1934 to be unconstitutional. Among the provisions specifically invalidated as arbitrary was a provision for employer-financed pensions for former employees who, though not in the employ of the railroads at the time of enactment, had been so employed within the year. Assuming that the portion of Alton invalidating this provision retains vitality,
In sum, the Due Process Clause poses no bar to requiring an operator to provide compensation for a
We turn next to a consideration of the Operators' challenge to the "presumptions" and evidentiary rules governing adjudications of compensable disability under the Act.
The Act prescribes two alternative methods for showing "total disability," which is a prerequisite to compensation. First, a miner is "totally disabled" under the definition contained in § 402 (f), if pneumoconiosis, simple or complicated,
Second, if a miner can show by clinical evidence (ordinarily X-ray evidence) that he is afflicted with complicated pneumoconiosis, the incurable and final stage of the disease, then the miner is deemed to be totally disabled under § 411 (c) (3).
The Operators contend that the definition of "total disability" set up in § 402 (f) is unconstitutionally arbitrary and irrational, because it provides for the compensation of former miners who might well be employable in other lines of work, and who therefore are not truly disabled by their mining-generated afflictions. We think it patent that this attack on § 402 (f) must fail. A miner disabled under § 402 (f) standards has suffered in at least two ways: His health is impaired, and he has been rendered unable to perform the kind of work to which he has adapted himself. Whether these interferences merit compensation is a public policy matter left primarily to the determination of the legislature. Cf. Geduldig v. Aiello, 417 U.S. 484 (1974). We cannot say that they are so insignificant as not to be a rational basis for compensation. Indeed, we long ago upheld against similar attack a workmen's compensation scheme providing benefits for injuries not depriving the employee of his ability to work. See New York Central R. Co. v. Bianc, 250 U.S. 596 (1919); cf. Urie v. Thompson, 337 U.S. 163, 181-187 (1949).
The District Court, relying on such cases as Stanley v. Illinois, 405 U.S. 645 (1972), and Vlandis v. Kline, 412 U.S. 441 (1973), invalidated § 411 (c) (3)'s "irrebuttable presumption" of total disability due to pneumoconiosis based on clinical evidence of complicated pneumoconiosis. The presumption, the court explained,
We think the District Court erred in equating this case with those in the mold of Stanley and Vlandis.
As an operational matter, the effect of § 411 (c) (3)'s "irrebuttable presumption" of total disability is simply to establish entitlement in the case of a miner who is clinically diagnosable as extremely ill with pneumoconiosis arising out of coal mine employment.
In addition to creating an irrebuttable presumption of total disability, § 411 (c) (3) provides that clinical evidence of a miner's complicated pneumoconiosis gives rise to an irrebuttable presumption that he was totally disabled by pneumoconiosis at the time of his death, and that his death was due to pneumoconiosis. The effect of these presumptions, in particular the presumption of death due to pneumoconiosis, is to grant benefits to the survivors of any miner who during his lifetime had complicated pneumoconiosis arising out of employment in the mines, regardless of whether the miner's death was caused by pneumoconiosis. The Operators raise no separate challenge to these presumptions, and we would have no occasion to comment separately on them were it not for the Operators' general complaint against the application of the Act to employees who terminated their employment before the Act was passed. To the extent that the presumption of death due to pneumoconiosis is viewed as requiring compensation for damages resulting from death unrelated to the operator's conduct, its application to employees who terminated their employment before the Act was passed would present difficulties not encountered in our prior discussion of retroactivity. The justification we found for the retrospective application of the Act is that it serves to spread costs in a rational manner —by allocating to the operator an actual cost of his
We think it clear, however, that the benefits authorized by § 411 (c) (3)'s presumption of death due to pneumoconiosis were intended not simply as compensation for damages due to the miner's death, but as deferred compensation for injury suffered during the miner's lifetime as a result of his illness itself. Thus, the Senate Report accompanying the 1972 amendments makes clear Congress' purpose to award benefits not only to widows whose husbands "[gave] their lives," but also to widows whose husbands "gave their health . . . in the service of the nation's critical coal needs."
In the case of a miner who died with, but not from, pneumoconiosis before the Act was passed, the benefits serve as deferred compensation for the suffering endured by his dependents by virtue of his illness. And in the case of a miner who died with, but not from, pneumoconiosis after the Act was passed, the benefits serve an additional purpose: The miner's knowledge that his dependent survivors would receive benefits serves to compensate him for the suffering he endures. In short, § 411 (c) (3)'s presumption of death due to pneumoconiosis authorizes compensation for injury attributable to the operator's business, and viewed as such it poses no retroactivity problems distinct from those considered in our prior discussion.
It might be suggested that the payment of benefits to dependent survivors is irrational as a scheme of compensation for injury suffered as a result of a miner's disability. But we cannot say that the scheme is wholly
We might face a more difficult problem in applying § 411 (c) (3)'s presumption of death due to pneumoconiosis on a retrospective basis if the presumption authorized benefits to the survivors of a miner who did not die from pneumoconiosis, and who during his life was completely unaware of and unaffected by his illness; or, in the case of a miner who died before the Act was passed, if the presumption authorized benefits to the survivors of a miner who did not die from pneumoconiosis, who nevertheless was aware of and affected by his illness, but whose dependents were completely unaware of and unaffected by his illness. But the Operators in their facial attack on the Act have not suggested that a miner whose condition was serious enough to activate the § 411 (c) (3) presumptions might not have been affected in any way by his condition, or that the family of such a miner might not have noticed it. Under the
Turning our attention to the statutory regulations of proof of § 402 (f) disability, we focus initially on the Operators' challenge to the presumptions contained in §§ 411 (c) (1) and (2). Section 411 (c) (1) provides that a coal miner with 10 years' employment in the mines who suffers from pneumoconiosis will be presumed to have contracted the disease from his employment.
See Atlantic Coast Line R. Co. v. Ford, 287 U.S. 502 (1933); Bandini Petroleum Co. v. Superior Court, 284 U.S. 8, 19 (1931). See also Leary v. United States, 395 U.S. 6, 29-53 (1969); Tot v. United States, 319 U.S. 463, 467-468 (1943). Moreover, as we have recognized:
Judged by these standards, the presumptions contained in §§ 411 (c) (1) and (2) are constitutionally valid. The Operators focus their attack on the rationality of the presumptions' bases in duration of employment. But it is agreed here that pneumoconiosis is caused by breathing coal dust, and that the likelihood of a miner's developing the disease rests upon both the concentration of dust to which he was exposed and the duration of his exposure. Against this scientific background, it was not
The Operators insist, however, that the 10-year presumptions are arbitrary, because they fail to account for varying degrees of exposure, some of which would pose lesser dangers than others. We reject this contention. In providing for a shifting of the burden of going forward to the operators, Congress was no more constrained to require a preliminary showing of the degree of dust concentration to which a miner was exposed, a historical fact difficult for the miner to prove, than it was to require a preliminary showing with respect to all other factors that might bear on the danger of infection. It is worth repeating that mine employment for 10 years does not serve by itself to activate any presumption of pneumoconiosis; it simply serves along with proof of pneumoconiosis under § 411 (c) (1) to presumptively establish the cause of pneumoconiosis, and along with proof of death from a respiratory disease under § 411 (c) (2) to presumptively establish that death was due to pneumoconiosis. In its "rough accommodations." Metropolis Theatre Co. v. Chicago, 228 U.S. 61, 69 (1913), Congress was surely entitled to select duration of employment,
The Operators press the same due process attack upon the durational basis of the rebuttable presumption in § 411 (c) (4), which provides, inter alia, that a miner employed for 15 years in underground mines, who is able to marshal evidence demonstrating a totally disabling respiratory or pulmonary impairment, shall be rebuttably presumed to be totally disabled by pneumoconiosis.
The Operators also challenge § 413 (b) of the Act, which provides that "no claim for benefits . . . shall be denied solely on the basis of the results of a chest roentgenogram [X-ray]."
Congress was presented with significant evidence demonstrating that X-ray testing that fails to disclose pneumoconiosis cannot be depended upon as a trustworthy
Taking these indications of the unreliability of negative X-ray diagnosis at face value, Congress was faced with the problem of determining which side should bear the burden of the unreliability. On the one hand, preclusion of any reliance on negative X-ray evidence would risk the success of some nonmeritorious claims; on the other hand, reliance on uncorroborated negative X-ray evidence would risk the denial of benefits in a significant number of meritorious cases. Congress addressed the problem by adopting a rule which, while preserving some of the utility, avoided the worst dangers of X-ray evidence. Section 413 (b) does not make negative X-ray evidence inadmissible, or ineligible to be considered as ultimately persuasive evidence when taken together with other factors—for example, a low level of coal dust concentration in the operator's mine, a relatively short duration
The Operators attack the limitation on the use of negative X-ray evidence by suggesting that Congress' conclusion as to the unreliability of negative X-ray evidence is constitutionally unsupportable. Relying on other evidence submitted to Congress in 1972,
Finally, the Operators challenge the limitation on rebuttal evidence contained in § 411 (c) (4). That section, as we have indicated, provides that a miner employed for 15 years in underground mines who is able to demonstrate a totally disabling respiratory or pulmonary impairment shall be rebuttably presumed to be totally disabled by pneumoconiosis, and his death shall be rebuttably presumed to be due to pneumoconiosis. The final sentence of § 411 (c) (4) provides that
The effect of this limitation on rebuttal evidence is, inter alia, to grant benefits to any miner with 15 years' employment in the mines, if he is totally disabled by some respiratory or pulmonary impairment arising in connection with his employment, and has a case of pneumoconiosis. The Operators contend that this limitation erects an impermissible irrebuttable presumption, because it establishes liability even though it might be medically demonstrable in an individual case that the miner's
The District Court, concluding that the quoted limitation on rebuttal evidence applied against an operator in a § 415 transition-period case, and recognizing that pneumoconiosis is not inherently disabling in the § 402 (f) sense, judged this limitation unconstitutional on the ground that it deprived an operator of a factual defense —that the miner is not "totally disabled" due to pneumoconiosis under § 402 (f). Additionally, reading the second part of the § 411 (c) (4) limitation on rebuttal to preclude an operator's defense that the disease did not arise out of employment in the particular mines for which it was responsible, the District Court found this aspect of § 411 (c) (4) unconstitutional as well.
The Federal Parties urge on their cross-appeal that these constitutional judgments are erroneous. We need not inquire into the constitutional questions raised by the District Court, however, because we think it clear as a matter of statutory construction that the § 411 (c) (4) limitation on rebuttal evidence is inapplicable to operators. By the language of § 411 (c) (4), the limitation applies only to "the Secretary" and not to an operator seeking to avoid liability under § 415 or § 422. And this plain language is fortified by the legislative history. The Senate Report on § 411 (c) (4) specifically states that the limitation on rebuttal applies to the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, but nowhere suggests that it binds an operator.
In short, we conclude that the Act does not itself limit the evidence with which an operator may rebut the
We are aware that regulations promulgated in 1972 by the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare under his § 411 (b) authorization, 20 CFR §§ 410.414, 410.454 (1975), applicable to Part C determinations under § 422 (h), and expressly adopted in 1973 by the Secretary of Labor, 20 CFR pt. 718 (1975), authorize limitations on rebuttal evidence similar to those contained in § 411 (c) (4), and appear to apply in determinations of an operator's liability. But the Operators' amended complaint never challenged the statutory or constitutional validity of these regulations.
It is so ordered.
THE CHIEF JUSTICE concurs in the judgment.
MR. JUSTICE STEVENS took no part in the consideration or decision of these cases.
MR. JUSTICE POWELL, concurring in part and concurring in the judgment in part.
Appellants in No. 74-1316, the Operators, challenge as unconstitutional the retroactive obligations imposed on them by the Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969 (Act), 83 Stat. 792, as amended by the Black Lung Benefits Act of 1972, 86 Stat. 150, 30 U. S. C. § 901 et seq. (1970 ed. and Supp. IV). The Court rejects their contention in Part IV of its opinion. I concur in the judgment as to Part IV, and concur in other portions of the opinion not inconsistent with the views herein expressed.
Coal miner's pneumoconiosis was not recognized in the United States until the 1950's, and there was no federal
The unprecedented feature of the Act is that miners may be eligible to receive benefits from a particular coal-mining concern even if the miner was no longer employed in the industry at the time of enactment. The
The Operators do not challenge their liability to miners employed at the time of or after enactment, a liability which accords with familiar principles of workmen's compensation.
The Court recognizes that its evaluation of the rationality of the employers' challenged liability must take into account the retroactive nature of the liability:
The Court then acknowledges that the Act would not be justified "on any theory of deterrence . . . or blame-worthiness." Ante, at 17-18. It nonetheless sustains the provision for retroactive liability, reasoning as follows:
If coal-mining concerns actually enjoyed "excess" profits in the pre-enactment period by virtue of their nonliability for pneumoconiosis, and if such profits could be quantified in some discernible way, Congress rationally could impose retrospective liability for the benefit of the miners concerned. But, in this context, the term "excess profits" must mean profits over and above those that operators would have made in years and decades past if they had set aside from current operations funds sufficient to provide compensation, although under no obligation to do so. It is unlikely that such profits existed. The coal industry is highly competitive and prices normally are determined by market forces. One therefore would expect that, had a compensation increment been added to operating costs, the operators over the long term simply would have passed most of it on to consumers, thereby leaving their profitability relatively unaffected. In short, the talk of "excess profits" in any realistic sense is wholly speculative.
Nor can I accept without serious question the Court's view that the costs now imposed by the Act may be passed on to consumers. Firms burdened with retroactive payments must meet that expense from current production and current sales in a market where prices must be competitive with the prices of firms not so burdened. One ordinarily would expect that if burdened firms are to meet both competitive prices and their retroactive obligations, their profits necessarily will be less than those of their competitors. Thus, the burdened firms in all likelihood will have to bear the costs of the
In some industries conditions might be such that the cost of retroactively imposed benefits could be spread to consumers. It seems most unlikely, however, that the coal industry is such an industry. A notable fact about coal mining is that the industry currently employs only about 150,000 persons, whereas in 1939 it employed nearly 450,000. Brief for Operators 24. The reduced scale of employment in the coal industry, combined with the liability to former miners and their survivors, means that retroactive obligations almost certainly will be disproportionate to the scale of current operations.
Despite the foregoing, I must concur in the judgment on the record before us. Congress had broad discretion in formulating a statute to deal with the serious problem of pneumoconiosis affecting former miners. E. g., Richardson v. Belcher, 404 U.S. 78 (1971); cf. Williamson v. Lee Optical Co., 348 U.S. 483 (1955). Nor does the Constitution require that legislation on economic matters be compatible with sound economics or even with normal fairness. As a result, economic and remedial social enactments carry a strong presumption of constitutionality, e. g., United States v. Carolene Products Co., 304 U.S. 144, 148 (1938), and the Operators had the heavy burden of showing the Act to be unconstitutional.
MR. JUSTICE STEWART, with whom MR. JUSTICE REHNQUIST joins, concurring in part and dissenting in part.
While in all other respects joining the opinion and judgment of the Court, I cannot accept the Court's conclusion, ante, at 36-37, that the limitation on rebuttal evidence in § 411 (c) (4), 30 U. S. C. § 921 (c) (4) (1970 ed., Supp. IV), is inapplicable to "transition" determinations under § 415 insofar as those determinations bind operators. Section 415 (a) (5), as set forth in 30 U. S. C. § 925 (a) (5) (1970 ed., Supp. IV), provides that an "operator . . . shall be bound by the determination of the Secretary of Labor [on a transition] claim as if the claim had been filed pursuant to part C of this subchapter and section 932 of this title had been applicable to such operator." As the Court correctly observes, the critical question is thus whether the § 411 (c) (4) limitation
The Court reads the "plain language" of § 411 (c) (4), and in particular the reference to "the Secretary [of Health, Education, and Welfare]," to mean that "the limitation applies only to `the Secretary' and not to an operator seeking to avoid liability under § 415 [30 U. S. C. § 925] or § 422 [30 U. S. C. § 932]." Ante, at 35. This reading, the Court concludes, is "fortified by the legislative history" and in particular by the "Senate Report on § 411 (c) (4) [which] specifically states that the limitation on rebuttal applies to the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, but nowhere suggests that it binds an operator." Ibid.
The Court's analysis omits any consideration of the effect of § 430, as set forth in 30 U. S. C. § 940 (1970 ed., Supp. IV), which provides as follows:
Since the limitation on rebuttal evidence in § 411 (c) (4) was created by the "amendments made by the Black Lung Benefits Act of 1972," it would seem to follow that the limitation applies to Part C determinations. This inference is reinforced by the Senate Report, which stated:
See also id., at 33.
The only play in the tight linkage of Part C to the amendments to Part B is that afforded by the proviso in § 430 and by the phrase "to the extent appropriate" which appears in that section. The proviso does not remove the rebuttal limitation, but it does alter § 411 (c) (4)'s allocation of the burden of proof in another crucial respect: It limits the period of employment which may be considered for purposes of determining the applicability of the presumption. The presence of the proviso is relevant in two respects. First, it underscores the basic applicability to Part C determinations of the § 411 (c) (4) rebuttal presumption. Second, it demonstrates that Congress knew how to place a significant limitation on the applicability of that presumption when it chose to do so.
The care and precision which Congress used in drafting this qualifying language bears on the propriety of reading the phrase "to the extent appropriate" as obliquely qualifying the applicability of the rebuttal limitation to
The 15-year rebuttable presumption embodied in § 411 (c) (4) was perhaps the most significant feature of Congress' response. Based in part on testimony of the Surgeon General that "[f]or work periods greater than 15 years underground, there was a linear increase in the prevalence of the disease with years spent underground." S. Rep. No. 92-743, supra, at 13, the presumption embodied a congressional decision to "giv[e] the benefit of the doubt," id., at 11, to a specific class of claimants totally disabled by respiratory or pulmonary impairments who could not prove by X-ray evidence that the impairment resulted from pneumoconiosis. The presumption was rebuttable only if the respondent could show either that "(A) such miner does not, or did not, have pneumoconiosis, or that (B) his respiratory or pulmonary impairment did not arise out of,
It is difficult to believe that Congress would have used the phrase "to the extent appropriate" in § 430 to withdraw the protection of the rebuttal limitation under Part C while retaining the rebuttable presumption of which it is an integral part. Such an interpretation is inconsistent with the care Congress displayed in drafting the § 430 proviso. Moreover, it leads necessarily to other improbable results. The Court's approach, for instance, necessarily implies that Congress extended the benefit of the § 411 (c) (4) presumption to "surface, as well as underground, miners [in specified circumstances]," S. Rep. No. 92-743, supra, at 2, with the intention that the protection would lapse as soon as Part C came into play. The relevant sentence in § 411 (c) (4) states that "[t]he Secretary [of Health, Education, and Welfare] shall not apply all or a portion of the requirement of this paragraph that the miner work in an underground mine where he determines that conditions of a miner's employment in a coal mine other than an underground mine were substantially similar to conditions in an underground mine." (Emphasis added.) If the operative principle is that provisions in § 411 (c) (4) which bind "the Secretary [of Health, Education, and Welfare]" are automatically "inappropriate" for Part C proceedings, then surface miners would be stripped of the benefits of § 411 (c) (4) as soon as the legislative scheme enters its transitional stage.
Moreover, the Court's reading of the statute is anomalous in terms of the overall structure of Part C. The primary goal of Congress in framing Part C was to transfer adjudicatory responsibilities over coal miners' pneumoconiosis claims to state workmen's compensation tribunals, but only if the state compensation law was
The delegation of adjudicatory responsibility to the Secretary of Labor under Part C was a backstop measure, intended to provide a forum for presentation of claims during any period after January 1, 1974, when a state workmen's compensation law was not included on the Secretary of Labor's list of state laws with provisions "substantially equivalent" to those in Part B. § 421 (a), 30 U. S. C. § 931 (a) (1970 ed., Supp. IV). See S. Rep. No. 92-743, supra, at 19-21. Since the very reason for withholding approval of a state law and providing an alternative federal forum is lack of "substantial equivalence" between the state-law provisions and the "standards established under part B," including the rebuttal limitation in § 411 (c) (4), it would be anomalous if the substitute federal forum could employ evidentiary rules which deviate substantially from those in Part B.
The statutory language and legislative history simply will not yield such an unlikely result. The phrase "to the extent appropriate" in § 430, 30 U. S. C. § 940 (1970 ed., Supp. IV), plainly refers to language in Part B which has no relevance to Part C, notably the language that specifies that "the Secretary [of Health, Education, and Welfare]" is to have certain adjudicative responsibilities. These are the references that are not "appropriate" under Part C, because Part C transfers adjudicative responsibilities to the States or, in the alternative,
It is significant that the Court's interpretation of § 411 (c) (4)'s rebuttal limitation is not urged or even suggested by any party to this suit. The Federal Parties' position is that the District Court erred by reading § 411 (c) (4) to foreclose a showing that would refute total disability. That position is clearly correct. The § 411 (c) (4) presumption comes into play only after the claimant establishes total disability. See § 411 (c) (4), 30 U. S. C. § 921 (c) (4) (1970 ed., Supp. IV) ("and if other evidence demonstrates the existence of a totally disabling respiratory or pulmonary impairment, then there shall be a rebuttable presumption . . ."). In addition, the District Court ruled that § 411 (c) (4) places upon a specific coal mine owner the burden of proving that the respiratory or pulmonary disease did not arise out of coal mine employment. The Federal Parties urge that this construction is erroneous, because it overlooks the fact that under § 422 (c), 30 U. S. C. § 932 (c), a specific operator can also defeat liability by showing that the disability did not arise, even in part, out of employment in his mine during the period when he operated it. Again, the Federal Parties are clearly correct. If the operator makes the § 422 (c) showing, then the § 411 (c) (4) presumption —and the rebuttal limitation—is irrelevant. Accordingly, I would reverse the District Court's ruling that the § 411 (c) (4) rebuttal limitation violates the Constitution.
"The term `total disability' has the meaning given it by regulations of the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, except that such regulations shall provide that a miner shall be considered totally disabled when pneumoconiosis prevents him from engaging in gainful employment requiring the skills and abilities comparable to those of any employment in a mine or mines in which he previously engaged with some regularity and over a substantial period of time. Such regulations shall not provide more restrictive criteria than those applicable under section 423 (d) of Title 42."
The Act defines "pneumoconiosis" as "a chronic dust disease of the lung arising out of employment in a coal mine." § 402 (b), 30 U. S. C. § 902 (b) (1970 ed., Supp. IV).
"[I]f a miner is suffering or suffered from a chronic dust disease of the lung which (A) when diagnosed by chest roentgenogram, yields one or more large opacities (greater than one centimeter in diameter) and would be classified in category A, B, or C in the International Classification of Radiographs of the Pneumoconioses by the International Labor Organization, (B) when diagnosed by biopsy or autopsy, yields massive lesions in the lung, or (C) when diagnosis is made by other means, would be a condition which could reasonably be expected to yield results described in clause (A) or (B) if diagnosis had been made in the manner prescribed in clause (A) or (B), then there shall be an irrebuttable presumption that he is totally disabled due to pneumoconiosis or that his death was due to pneumoconiosis or that at the time of his death he was totally disabled by pneumoconiosis, as the case may be."
"[I]f a miner who is suffering or suffered from pneumoconiosis was employed for ten years or more in one or more coal mines there shall be a rebuttable presumption that his pneumoconiosis arose out of such employment."
"[I]f a deceased miner was employed for ten years or more in one or more coal mines and died from a respirable disease there shall be a rebuttable presumption that his death was due to pneumoconiosis."
"[I]f a miner was employed for fifteen years or more in one or more underground coal mines, and if there is a chest roentgenogram submitted in connection with such miner's, his widow's, his child's, his parent's, his brother's, his sister's, or his dependent's claim under this subchapter and it is interpreted as negative with respect to the requirements of paragraph (3) of this subsection, and if other evidence demonstrates the existence of a totally disabling respiratory or pulmonary impairment, then there shall be a rebuttable presumption that such miner is totally disabled due to pneumoconiosis, that his death was due to pneumoconiosis, or that at the time of his death he was totally disabled by pneumoconiosis. In the case of a living miner, a wife's affidavit may not be used by itself to establish the presumption. The Secretary shall not apply all or a portion of the requirement of this paragraph that the miner work in an underground mine where he determines that conditions of a miner's employment in a coal mine other than an underground mine were substantially similar to conditions in an underground mine. The Secretary may rebut such presumption only by establishing that (A) such miner does not, or did not, have pneumoconiosis, or that (B) his respiratory or pulmonary impairment did not arise out of, or in connection with, employment in a coal mine."
"[i]n determining the validity of claims under this part, all relevant evidence shall be considered, including, where relevant, medical tests such as blood gas studies, X-ray examination, electrocardiogram, pulmonary function studies, or physical performance tests, and any medical history, evidence submitted by the claimant's physician, or his wife's affidavits, and in the case of a deceased miner, other appropriate affidavits of persons with knowledge of the miner's physical condition, and other supportive materials." 30 U. S. C. § 923 (b) (1970 ed., Supp. IV).
The retroactive nature of the liability makes deterrence an insufficient justification. In their prospective application, it is rational for Title IV and other workmen's compensation schemes to disadvantage competitively employers who take less effective precautions to protect their employees. But only prospective liability creates an incentive for occupational safety measures.