Michael T. Heenan

Profile

Michael T. Heenan is one of the best known and most accomplished mine safety attorneys in the country. After the merger of Heenan, Althen & Roles with Ogletree Deakins in 2003, Mr. Heenan became the managing shareholder of the firm’s Washington, DC office through 2010.  He is the founder and a leader of the firm’s national mine safety and health (MSHA) practice.

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Experience

Experience: 

Michael Heenan is the author of multiple books on mine safety and health including: MSHA Compliance Essentials (MineWorks Media, 2012); MSHA - The Mine Operator and The Law (MineWorks Media, 2003); Safety and Health at Mines (MineWorks Media, 2nd Ed, 2003); Safety and Health at Mines, A Manual for Operators and Contractors (Advanstar, 1999); Understanding MSHA (McGraw Hill, 1981). He is also author of "Federal Regulation of Mine Safety and Health," Mine Safety and Health Management (Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration (SME), 2001) and "Regulation of Mine Safety and Health," Kentucky Mineral Law Manual (Banks, Baldwin, 1986); "Enforcement, Administrative and Judicial Review," Coal Law and Regulation (McGraw Hill, 1983).

Mr. Heenan represents companies in litigation before the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission and the United States Courts of Appeals. He assists companies, managers and witnesses in government investigations, including accident investigations and special investigations initiated by the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) to determine whether individual managers or supervisors are to be prosecuted criminally or civilly. He also responds to complaints of discrimination filed under the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act. He conducts investigations underground and on the surface in support of company administrative, management and litigation needs. He has been involved in many precedential cases, while at the same time successfully negotiating many non-litigation solutions to cases and investigations with the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of Justice.

Michael Heenan has represented companies in enforcement actions initiated by the Interior Department, the Treasury Department, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). He advises and assists equipment manufacturers with petitions for approval and certification of equipment, and with government investigations related to compliance and conformity of equipment when it is certified by MSHA and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) for mine use. He helps mine operators and independent service and construction contractors with daily compliance, audits and preventative measures. He advises and assists gold mines and a wide variety of other metal mines and processing plants, along with cement plants and other non-metal operations regarding legal and procedural issues that arise during government inspections and investigations. He represents mine operators, construction materials companies and contractors in informal and formal contests of federal enforcement actions. He also represents employers in connection with various state enforcement and adjudicatory proceedings related to mine safety and health.

Education and Honors

Education: 

J.D., University Pittsburgh School of Law, 1967
B.S., Mount Saint Mary's College, 1964
University of Toluca (Mexico)

Honors and Awards: 
  • Best Lawyers in America
  • Who’s Who in America
  • Who’s Who in American Law
  • Washington, D.C. Super Lawyer (2013 & 2014)

Professional Activities

Professional Activities: 
  • Legal Editor, Pit & Quarry Magazine
  • American Bar Association (Labor & Employment Section)
  • National Mining Association (Law and Safety Committees)
  • National Stone Sand & Gravel Association (Council of Counsel)
  • National Safety Council (Business and Industry Section)
  • Energy and Mineral Law Foundation (Former Trustee)
  • George Mason University, New Century College (Former Adjunct Professor)
  • U.S. Department of the Interior (Former Trial Attorney, Office of the Solicitor)
  • U.S. Naval Reserve Officers School (Former Instructor of International Law)
  • Military Service: Lieutenant, U.S. Navy
Speeches:
  • 2015 Florida Industry and Mining Safety, Health & Environmental Conference - "Preventing MSHA Problems" - Kissimmee - February 18, 2015
  • Penn State Mine Safety Conference - "MSHA Investigations - Avoiding Pain and Suffering" - Allentown - January 15, 2014
  • Southeastern Mine Safety Conference - "MSHA Advance Notice and Operator's Right to Representation" - Birmingham - November 5, 2013
  • Western Mine Safety Conference - "Elevated MSHA Enforcement - Advance Notice of Inspections" - Las Vegas - October 22, 2013
  • Pit & Quarry Roundtable Conference - "Legal Developments Update" - Ft. Myers - September 26, 2013
  • Iowa Limestone Producers Association Annual Conference - "Communications With MSHA" - Cedar Rapids - February 6, 2013
  • Energy & Mineral Law Foundation Conference - "MSHA Backlog" - Las Vegas - September 22, 2012
  • Montana Mining Association - "Accidents at Mines From the Viewpoint of Counsel" - Butte - May 26, 2011
  • Pit & Quarry Roundtable & Conference - "MSHA Enforcement-Critical Issues and Insights 2010-2011" - Nashville - September 30, 2010
  • National Stone Sand & Gravel Association Webinar - "Managing MSHA Citations and Penalties" - August 10, 2010
  • Energy & Mineral Law Foundation - "Due Process for Federal Monetary Penalties" - Washington, D.C. - March 23, 2010
  • NSSGA Legal Symposium - "MSHA Civil Penalties—Why So Many Contests?" - Cincinnati - February 15, 2010

In The News

Media Quotes:
Published Works:
  • February 27, 2015 - Ogletree Deakins Blog Post - "Changing MSHA Penalties: What’s on the Horizon for Mine Operators?"
  • January 2015 - Pit & Quarry Magazine - "MSHA Penalty Controversy"
  • December 2014 - Pit & Quarry Magazine - "The Pattern of Violations Game"
  • November 11, 2014 - Ogletree Deakins Blog Post - "Mine Fatalities: Causes, Prevention, and MSHA Enforcement"
  • October 2014 - Pit & Quarry Magazine - "New MSHA Penalties"
  • August 2014 - Pit & Quarry Magazine - "Walk-around Denied"
  • June 2014 - Pit & Quarry Magazine - "Why 2014 is the Year of the Workers' Voice"
  • May 27, 2014 - Ogletree Deakins Publication - "Miners Can Prevent Fatal Accidents"
  • May 2014 - Pit & Quarry Magazine - "Accident and Injury Reports"
  • April 2014 - Sharpe's Point on Mine Safety - "MSHA's Enforcement of Fall Protection"
  • April 2014 - Pit & Quarry Magazine - "Miner's Rights to Representation"
  • February 2014 - Pit & Quarry Magazine - "Personal Safety"
  • January 2014 - Pit & Quarry Magazine - "Violent Complaint"
  • December 2013 - Pit & Quarry Magazine - "MSHA Investigation Focus"
  • November 2013 - Pit & Quarry Magazine - "Investigations and Prosecutions"