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United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
July 6, 2020, Argued and Submitted, Seattle, Washington; April 15, 2021, Amended
[*1011] AMENDED OPINION
M. SMITH, Circuit Judge:
The Hanford site is a decommissioned federal nuclear production site that sprawls over more than five hundred square miles in southeastern Washington State. While active between 1944 and 1989, the Hanford site produced nearly two-thirds of the nation's weapons grade plutonium for use in the United States nuclear program during World War II and the Cold War. The site also generated significant amounts of highly radioactive and chemically hazardous waste. The United States Department of Energy (DOE) has overseen cleanup of the Hanford site since 1989, primarily relying on private contractors and subcontractors to perform the actual cleanup work. These cleanup operations are expected to last for at least six more decades.
] Employees of private contractors working on federal land, like the employees [**4] of the DOE contractors who work at the Hanford site, may pursue state workers' compensation claims. 40 U.S.C. § 3172; Wash. Rev. Code § 51.12.060. The DOE has chosen to insure such claims for most of its contractors at the Hanford site. In 2018, Washington amended its workers' [*1012] compensation scheme by enacting HB 1723, a law that applies only to Hanford site workers who work directly or indirectly for the United States. 2018 Wash. Sess. Laws 226 (codified at Wash. Rev. Code § 51.32.187). ] HB 1723 establishes for these workers, inter alia, a presumption that certain conditions and cancers are occupational diseases, which is rebuttable by only clear and convincing evidence. Wash. Rev. Code § 51.32.187(2)(a), (b).
Concerned about "heightened liability," the United States sued Washington3, claiming that HB 1723 impermissibly directly regulates and discriminates against the Federal Government and those with whom it deals in violation of the doctrine of intergovernmental immunity. The district court granted summary judgment for Washington, pursuant to a congressional waiver of immunity that authorizes the States to apply their workers' compensation laws to "all" federal land and projects in the states "in the same way and to the same extent as if the premises were under the exclusive jurisdiction [**5] of the State[.]" 40 U.S.C. § 3172. The United States appeals. We hold that HB 1723 falls within § 3172's waiver and, thus, does not violate the doctrine of intergovernmental immunity. We, therefore, affirm.
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994 F.3d 994 *; 2021 U.S. App. LEXIS 10831 **
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. STATE OF WASHINGTON; JAY ROBERT INSLEE, in his official capacity as Governor of the State of Washington; JOEL SACKS, in his official capacity as Director of the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries; WASHINGTON STATE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR & INDUSTRIES, Defendants-Appellees.
Prior History: [**1] Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Washington. D.C. No. 4:18-cv-05189-SAB. Stanley Allen Bastian, District Judge, Presiding.
United States v. Washington, 971 F.3d 856, 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 26308, 2020 WL 9211306 (9th Cir. Wash., Aug. 19, 2020)
workers' compensation, site, immunity, federal government, intergovernmental, employees, contractors, federal land, authorizes, regulation, cleanup, exclusive jurisdiction, premises, nuclear, private contractor, discriminates, projects, compensation law, state law, predecessor, indirectly, stringent, workmen's, permits, waives
Workers' Compensation & SSDI, Compensability, Business & Corporate Compliance, Workers' Compensation & SSDI, Compensability, Occupational Diseases, Evidence, Burdens of Proof, Clear & Convincing Proof, Civil Procedure, Summary Judgment, Motions for Summary Judgment, Cross Motions, Appeals, Summary Judgment Review, Standards of Review, Criminal Law & Procedure, Standards of Review, De Novo Review, Conclusions of Law, Governments, Legislation, Interpretation, Constitutional Law, Supremacy Clause, Federal Preemption, Congressional Duties & Powers, Spending & Taxation, Exclusivity, Exceptions, Defenses, Waiver, Federal Government, Property, Exclusivity, Administrative Proceedings, Claims, Jurisdiction, State & Territorial Governments, Claims By & Against