20 CFR § 725.492 - Successor operator defined.

§ 725.492 Successor operator defined.

(a) Any person who, on or after January 1, 1970, acquired a mine or mines, or substantially all of the assets thereof, from a prior operator, or acquired the coal mining business of such prior operator, or substantially all of the assets thereof, shall be considered a “successor operator” with respect to any miners previously employed by such prior operator.

(b) The following transactions shall also be deemed to create successor operator liability:

(1) If an operator ceases to exist by reason of a reorganization which involves a change in identity, form, or place of business or organization, however effected;

(2) If an operator ceases to exist by reason of a liquidation into a parent or successor corporation; or

(3) If an operator ceases to exist by reason of a sale of substantially all its assets, or as a result of merger, consolidation, or division.

(c) In any case in which a transaction specified in paragraph (b), or substantially similar to a transaction specified in paragraph (b), took place, the resulting entity shall be considered a “successor operator” with respect to any miners previously employed by such prior operator.

(d) This section shall not be construed to relieve a prior operator of any liability if such prior operator meets the conditions set forth in § 725.494. If the prior operator does not meet the conditions set forth in § 725.494, the following provisions shall apply:

(1) In any case in which a prior operator transferred a mine or mines, or substantially all of the assets thereof, to a successor operator, or sold its coal mining business or substantially all of the assets thereof, to a successor operator, and then ceased to exist within the terms of paragraph (b), the successor operator as identified in paragraph (a) shall be primarily liable for the payment of benefits to any miners previously employed by such prior operator.

(2) In any case in which a prior operator transferred mines, or substantially all of the assets thereof, to more than one successor operator, the successor operator that most recently acquired a mine or mines or assets from the prior operator shall be primarily liable for the payment of benefits to any miners previously employed by such prior operator.

(3) In any case in which a mine or mines, or substantially all the assets thereof, have been transferred more than once, the successor operator that most recently acquired such mine or mines or assets shall be primarily liable for the payment of benefits to any miners previously employed by the original prior operator. If the most recent successor operator does not meet the criteria for a potentially liable operator set forth in § 725.494, the next most recent successor operator shall be liable.

(e) An “acquisition,” for purposes of this section, shall include any transaction by which title to the mine or mines, or substantially all of the assets thereof, or the right to extract or prepare coal at such mine or mines, becomes vested in a person other than the prior operator.

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