Donovan v. Dewey

452 U.S. 594 (1981)


The Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 requires P to develop detailed mandatory health and safety standards to govern the operation of the Nation's mines. Section 103 (a) provides that federal mine inspectors are to inspect underground mines at least four times per year and surface mines at least twice a year to insure compliance with these standards, and to make follow-up inspections to determine whether previously discovered violations have been corrected. It grants mine inspectors 'a right of entry to, upon, or through any coal or other mine'  with 'no advance notice of an inspection. If a mine operator refuses to allow a warrantless inspection pursuant to §103 (a), P is authorized to institute a civil action to obtain injunctive or other appropriate relief. A federal mine inspector attempted to inspect quarries owned by D in order to determine whether all 25 safety and health violations uncovered during a prior inspection had been corrected. D refused to allow the inspection to continue unless the inspector first obtain a search warrant. The inspector issued a citation to D and P subsequently filed this civil seeking to enjoin D from refusing to permit warrantless searches. The District Court granted summary judgment to D on the ground that the Fourth Amendment prohibited a warrantless search. P appealed directly to the Supreme Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1252.