Before: ROGERS, Chairman and ATTWOOD, Commissioner.
BY THE COMMISSION:
At issue on review is a decision of Administrative Law Judge John H. Schumacher
granting summary judgment for Ford Motor Company – Buffalo Stamping Plant (“Ford”) and
thereby vacating a citation issued to Ford pursuant to the Occupational Safety and Health Act of
1970 (“OSH Act”), 29 U.S.C. § 651 et seq. For the following reasons, we reverse the judge’s
decision and remand this case for further proceedings consistent with this order.
Following an inspection, OSHA issued Ford a willful citation alleging a violation of 29
C.F.R. § 1910.179(l)(3)(i), which requires that “any unsafe conditions” disclosed by required
inspections of a crane “shall be corrected before operation of the crane is resumed.” Ford
contested the citation and, after the completion of discovery, filed a Motion for Summary
Judgment. The Secretary then filed a Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment. In his decision, the
judge granted Ford’s motion and denied the Secretary’s cross-motion. In her Petition for
Discretionary Review, the Secretary contends that the judge should have denied both motions
based on her assertion that there remain genuine disputes of material fact.
The requirements for granting summary judgment are well established: there must be
“no genuine dispute as to any material fact,” and a party must be “entitled to a judgment as a
matter of law.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a); Van Buren-Madawaska Corp., 13 BNA OSHC 2157, 2159
(No. 87-214, 1989) (consolidated).
In reviewing a motion for summary judgment, a judge is not
to decide factual disputes. Gallo v. Prudential Residential Servs., 22 F.3d 1219, 1224 (2d Cir.
1994). Rather, the role of the judge is to determine whether any such disputes exist.
determining if there is a genuine factual dispute, the fact finder must resolve all ambiguities and
draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party. United States v. Diebold, Inc.,
369 U.S. 654, 655 (1962); Tufariello v. Long Island R.R. Co., 458 F.3d 80, 83 (2d Cir. 2006).
Thus, not only must there be no genuine dispute as to the evidentiary facts, but there must also
be no controversy as to the inferences to be drawn from them. Schwabenbauer v. Bd. of Educ. of
City Sch. Dist. of City of Olean, 667 F.2d 305, 313 (2d Cir. 1991). These principles are not
altered when both parties move for summary judgment, and each party’s motion must be
independently evaluated under them. Id. at 313-314; Van-Buren-Madawaska Corp., 13 BNA
OSHC at 2159 & n.2. A judge is not obligated to grant judgment as a matter of law to either
side, and may deny both motions. Id.
We find that the judge erred in granting summary judgment for Ford. The parties’
arguments show that there are genuine disputes of material fact. In particular, they disagree on
the meaning of Ford’s crane inspection reports and related work orders with respect to the
requirements of the cited standard. The judge did not acknowledge this factual disagreement in
his decision. And when we evaluate Ford’s summary judgment motion and view the record
evidence—as we must—in the light most favorable to the Secretary, drawing all reasonable
inferences in her favor, we find that Ford has not shown that it is entitled to judgment as a matter
of law. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 447 U.S. 242, 255 (1986). If we were to evaluate
the Secretary’s cross-motion in the same fashion, we would be compelled to find that she also
has not shown entitlement to judgment as a matter of law.
Accordingly, we reverse the judge’s July 12, 2011 decision, and direct the judge on
remand to conduct further proceedings consistent with this order.
Thomasina V. Rogers
Cynthia L. Attwood
Dated: August 30, 2011 Commissioner