Marshall v. Barlow’s, Inc.

United States Supreme Court436 U.S. 307 (1978)


On September 11, 1975, an inspector with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) appeared at Barlow’s, Inc. (Barlow’s) (defendant), an electrical and plumbing installation business. The inspector asked Bill Barlow, the president and general manager, to enter the non-public area of the premises to perform an inspection. The inspector said that Barlow’s had been selected for inspection as part of OSHA’s regular inspection program.  Barlow asked the inspector if he had a warrant. The inspector said he did not. Barlow refused to allow the inspector to enter the non-public areas of the company premises, based on Fourth Amendment rights against search and seizure. Three months later, the Secretary of OSHA petitioned the United States District Court for the District of Idaho to issue an order compelling Barlow’s to admit the inspector. The district court did so, and the inspector presented the order to Barlow. Barlow again refused to allow inspection and sought injunctive relief against OSHA inspections. A three-judge court ruled in favor of Barlow’s. The Secretary appealed.

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