Logourl black
From our private database of 14,000+ case briefs...

Whirlpool Corp. v. Marshall

United States Supreme Court
445 U.S. 1 (1980)


Facts

Whirlpool Corporation (Whirlpool) (defendant) was a producer of household appliances. At its manufacturing plant in Ohio, Whirlpool installed an overhead conveyor to transport appliance components throughout the plant. In order to protect employees from components falling from the conveyor, Whirlpool installed a wire-mesh guard screen that was 20 feet above the plant floor. Maintenance employees stood on iron frames along the plant walls to remove objects from the screen and perform maintenance work on the conveyors. At times, the maintenance employees needed to step onto the screen to perform their duties. In 1973, several employees fell through the screen. In response, Whirlpool began installing a stronger screen. However, on June 28, 1974, a maintenance employee fell through a portion of the old screen and died. On July 7, 1974, Virgil Deemer and Thomas Cornwell, two of Whirlpool’s maintenance employees, complained to Whirlpool about the safety conditions at the plant. The next day, Deemer and Cornwell were instructed to perform maintenance on a section of the old screen. Deemer and Cornwell refused due to safety concerns and were issued written reprimands and ordered to leave work without payment. U.S. Secretary of Labor Ray Marshall (Secretary) (plaintiff) sued Whirlpool in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, alleging that Whirlpool had discriminated against Deemer and Cornwell in violation of the Secretary’s regulation interpreting the Occupational Safety and Health Act (Act), 29 U.S.C. §§ 651-78. The district court denied relief, finding that the regulation upon which the Secretary relied was invalid because the regulation was inconsistent with the Act. The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reversed. Whirlpool appealed.

Rule of Law

The rule of law is the black letter law upon which the court rested its decision.

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.

Issue

The issue section includes the dispositive legal issue in the case phrased as a question.

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.

Holding and Reasoning (Stewart, J.)

The holding and reasoning section includes:

  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 173,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,000 briefs, keyed to 188 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.