United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, E.D
February 20, 1980
IN THE MATTER OF ESTABLISHMENT INSPECTION OF FEDERAL CLEARING DIE CASTING COMPANY, A CORPORATION.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Bua, District Judge.
This cause comes before the court on the petition of the
Secretary of Labor for an Order directing the respondent Federal
Clearing Die Casting Company to show cause why it should not be
held in civil contempt for disobeying the warrant for inspection
issued on January 10, 1980, by Magistrate John W. Cooley,
pursuant to the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970
[OSHA]. 28 U.S.C. § 636(d)(1).
In the Application for Inspection Warrant presented to
Magistrate Cooley, representatives of the Secretary attached
copies of two newspaper articles discussing an on-the-job injury
suffered by one of the respondent's employees. In each of said
articles, it was reported that both of the employee's hands had
been severed in a punch press accident. Also presented to the
Magistrate was evidence that Federal Clearing had, in 1975,
received an OSHA citation relating to the safe operation of
similar presses. After reviewing the Secretary's Application
materials, Magistrate Cooley found that there was probable cause
for believing that the respondent's worksite should be inspected
to the extent requested, and issued the inspection warrant in
This court agrees with the Magistrate's conclusion on the
question of probable cause. That an employee of the respondent
had both of his hands severed while working on a press maintained
by Federal Clearing is, in the opinion of this court, specific
evidence of an existing OSHA violation. Magistrate Cooley's
determination that probable cause existed for the inspection
being sought thus could properly have been founded solely upon
the reports contained in the newspaper articles attached to the
Secretary's Application. Marshall v. Barlow's Inc., 436 U.S. 307,
320, 98 S.Ct. 1816, 1824, 56 L.Ed.2d 305 (1978). The fact that
Federal Clearing had been cited in the past for similar OSHA
violations, clearly, although not conclusive in and of itself,
served to buttress the Magistrate's finding.
The inspection warrant in question also is facially sufficient.
The requisite particulars are set out clearly, and the scope of
the inspection to be conducted has been appropriately limited.
Regarding the scope of the inspection, the warrant states that
the inspectors are to
. . inspect and investigate in a reasonable manner
and to a reasonable extent (including but not limited
to the taking of photographs and samples, and the
questioning privately any owner, operator, agent,
employer or employee of the establishment) the
presses in the worksite and all pertinent conditions,
structures, apparatus, devices, equipment, materials,
and all other things therein related to these
machines (including records, files, papers,
processes, controls, and facilities) . . .
(emphasis added). The Seventh Circuit, when upholding a more
wide-ranging inspection restriction in In the Matter of
Establishment Inspection of Gilbert & Bennett Manufacturing Co.,
589 F.2d 1335
(7th Cir. 1979), stated that "the scope of an OSHA
inspection warrant must be as broad as the subject matter
regulated by the statute and restricted only by the limitations
imposed by Congress and the reasonableness requirement of the
Fourth Amendment." Id. at 1343. The present warrant, in
restricting the scope of the inspection to areas and materials
related to "the presses in the worksite", clearly is in
conformance with the Seventh Circuit's standard. That being so,
it cannot be said that it [the warrant under discussion] is
From the above, it is clear that the inspection warrant issued
by Magistrate Cooley on January 10, 1980, and presented to the
respondent on January 11, was valid and proper. Federal Clearing,
however, has not, despite that fact, made any showing which would
justify its disobedience of said writ. It has not presented
rational grounds to support its acknowledged failure to comply.
Rather, the respondent has advanced a number of arguments which,
it can reasonably be contended, may have been calculated to — at
least in part — both obscure the relevant issues and mislead the
court as to the law and standards to be applied. That being so,
as Federal Clearing also has failed to bring to light any issues
of fact which would otherwise require a hearing, the court
believes it appropriate to find at this time that the respondent
is in civil contempt. 28 U.S.C. § 636(d)(1).
In conjunction with the above finding, the court holds as
(1) The respondent, Federal Clearing Die Casting is
ordered to comply immediately with the January
10, 1980 inspection warrant issued by Magistrate
(2) A hearing will be held before this court on March
14, 1980 at 10:00 a.m., to determine what, if
any, sanctions should be imposed in response to
the respondent's contemptuous actions.
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