Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Freeman Coal Mining Corp. v. Ruff

JULY 5, 1967.

FREEMAN COAL MINING CORPORATION, AN ILLINOIS CORPORATION, BELL & ZOLLER COAL COMPANY, AN ILLINOIS CORPORATION, AND CONSOLIDATION COAL COMPANY, A PENNSYLVANIA CORPORATION, PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS,

v.

L. LEON RUFF, DIRECTOR OF MINES AND MINERALS IN THE DEPARTMENT OF MINES AND MINERALS IN THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, HARRY WILLIAMSON, ET AL., AND WILLIAM G. CLARK, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Sangamon County; the Hon. PAUL C. VERTICCHIO, Judge, presiding. Affirmed.

CRAVEN, P.J.

Rehearing denied August 10, 1967.

In December of 1965, the attorney general issued an opinion construing the Illinois Coal Mining Act of 1953 as amended. Section 2.11 of that act (Ill Rev Stats 1965, c 93, par 2.11) provides that when an opinion of the attorney general is at variance with an opinion of the mining board, then all parties must abide by the attorney general's opinion except that recourse may be had to the courts.

The 1965 opinion was in conflict with an opinion of the attorney general issued in 1956 and at variance with an interpretation of the act issued by the mining board, also in 1956. This proceeding, then, is an action for declaratory judgment to resolve the question in controversy. The sole issue presented is the construction of sections 5.09 and 6.04 of the Illinois Coal Mining Act (Ill Rev Stats 1965, c 93, pars 5.09 and 6.04) as these sections apply to the inspection of gassy mines prior to the entry of workmen on a noncoal-producing shift.

The plaintiffs contend, and the 1956 opinion of the attorney general held, that a gassy mine was required to be examined within twelve hours immediately preceding the entrance of workmen for a noncoal-producing shift into the underground area. The defendants contend, and the 1965 opinion of the attorney general held, that gassy mines are required to be examined within four hours immediately preceding the entrance of workmen of any shift, coal-producing or noncoal-producing.

The question is one of law. There are no controverted factual issues, and the circuit court granted summary judgment for the defendants and entered a declaratory judgment accordingly. This appeal is from that judgment.

Section 5.09 of the act relates to the duties of the mine manager and provides in part:

"(A) In gassy mines:

"1. When the mine is to be operated he shall have the prescribed working places of such mine examined by a certified mine examiner within 4 hours before the workmen of any shift, other than the examiner or the examiners designated by the mine manager to make the examination, enter the underground areas of such mine. Have the mine examiner inspect every active working place in the mine and make tests therein with a permissible flame safety lamp for accumulation of methane and oxygen deficiency in the air therein; examine seals and doors to determine whether they are functioning properly; inspect and test the roof, face and rib conditions in the working areas and on active roadways and travelways; inspect active roadways, travelways, approaches to abandoned workings and accessible falls in active sections for explosive gas and other hazards; and inspect to determine whether the air in each split is traveling in its proper course and in normal volume.

"4. He shall see that no person, other than competent personnel, enters any underground area in a gassy mine, except during a coal-producing shift, unless an examination of such area has been made by a mine examiner within 12 hours immediately preceding his entrance into such area."

Section 6.04, also dealing with examination of gassy mines, sets forth the duties of the mine examiners and provides in part:

"(A) In gassy mines:

"1. When the mine is to be operated he shall examine the prescribed working places of such mine within 4 hours before any workmen in such shift, other than the examiner or the examiners designated by the Mine Manager to make the examination, enter the underground areas of the mine. Examine every active working place in the mine and make tests therein with a permissible flame safety lamp for accumulation of methane and oxygen deficiency in the air therein; examine seals and doors to determine whether they are functioning properly; inspect and test the roof, face and rib conditions in the working areas and on active roadways and travelways; inspect active roadways, travelways, approaches to abandoned workings and accessible falls in active sections for explosive gas and other hazards; and inspect to determine whether the air in each split is traveling in its proper course and in normal volume. . . ."

There is no language in section 6.04 comparable to the language in subparagraph 4 in section 5.09. If the language of subparagraph 1 of each of the quoted sections, by the use of the term "is to be operated" governs only as to coal-producing shifts, as the plaintiffs contend, then there is no ambiguity in the statutory language and consequently no need for construction. ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.