Barnhart v. Peabody Coal Company and Holland v. Bellaire Corporation
October 8, 2002 (01-705)
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Case Summary
The Coal Industry Retiree Health Benefit Act of 1992 (Coal Act), 26 U.S.C. 9701-9722, established the United Mine Workers of America Combined Benefit Fund (Combined Fund) to ensure the continued provision of health-care benefits to retired coal miners and their dependents who worked under collective bargaining agreements that promised such benefits. Those benefits are financed primarily through premiums that must be paid to the Combined Fund by "signatory operators" that employed miners under those collective bargaining agreements and are assigned responsibility for their retired miners' benefits. The Coal Act provided that the Commissioner of Social Security "shall" assign responsibility for each eligible retired coal miner to the signatory operator that employed the miner before October 1, 1993. The Commissioner, however, was unable to complete all such assignments before October 1, 1993, but continued making assignments after that date. The Sixth Circuit held that the Commissioner's assignments of responsibility for retired miners that were made on or after October 1, 1993 are void because the Commissioner lacks such authority. The opinions below can be found at 2001 WL 857197 and 2001 WL 856962.

A link to the lower court decision was not found.


PREDICTED OUTCOME ACTUAL
OUTCOME
Forecasting
Model
Expert
One
Expert
Two
Expert
Three
9-0 to Reverse 5-4 to Reverse 7-2 to Reverse 7-2 to Reverse 6-3 to Reverse
VOTING TO REVERSE
Rehnquist
Stevens
O'Connor
Scalia
Kennedy
Souter
Thomas
Ginsburg
Breyer
Stevens
Kennedy
Souter
Ginsburg
Breyer
Rehnquist
Stevens
O'Connor
Kennedy
Souter
Ginsburg
Breyer
Rehnquist
Stevens
O'Connor
Kennedy
Souter
Ginsburg
Breyer
Rehnquist
Stevens
Kennedy
Souter
Ginsburg
Breyer
VOTING TO AFFIRM
Rehnquist
O'Connor
Scalia
Thomas
Scalia
Thomas
Scalia
Thomas
O'Connor
Scalia
Thomas

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