Federal Black Lung

For more information about our Federal Black Lung practice, contact:

Karin L. Weingart

Practice Group Roster

One of the most important challenges confronting any employer subject to the federal black lung program is staying abreast of the frequent legislative and court-imposed changes to the provisions that control benefit entitlements. Successful defense strategies depend on an accurate and updated understanding of the regulations and case law. Our work in this important area has allowed us to stay informed about and involved in changes to the federal black lung law.

We frequently litigate these federal black lung issues:

  • Identification of proper responsible operators
  • Successor liability
  • Length of coal mine employment
  • Diagnosis of black lung
  • Assessment of respiratory disability
  • Ability to perform usual coal mine employment or comparable employment
  • Identification of noncompensable disabling conditions
  • Determinations of dependency
  • Material changes in medical condition
Because federal black lung benefits are only paid when an individual is totally disabled or has died as a result of black lung, the potential financial impact of paying lifetime benefits to the miner or his widow can be significant.

Accordingly, proper identification of relevant issues and a thorough development of evidence supporting the employer’s position on those issues is critical. This process can be quite labor intensive. Using attorney time to collect and organize extensive employment and medical records is not a good strategy.

We take pride in our ability to provide cost effective service to our black lung clients. We rely heavily on our talented paralegal resources and limit attorney involvement to those tasks that truly require the unique skills of legal counsel.

In addition to claims administration and litigation, Spilman provides these federal black lung services:

  • Presenting appellate briefs and arguments before the Benefits Review Board and federal circuit courts
  • Representing employers in negotiations involving purchases or sales whose terms include federal black lung liability
  • Drafting of contract language that establishes parameters for assuming or discharging black lung liability
  • Monitoring legislative and regulatory changes in the federal black lung law
Our experience in serving the diverse needs of large and small employers has equipped us to respond immediately to client needs and provide solutions to every kind of federal black lung problem.

©2017 Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC
Michael J. Basile / Responsible Attorney