Department of Labor Logo OSHA News Release - Region 7


January 24, 2024 

 

Federal court holds Nebraska contractor in contempt, orders daily fine until he complies with US Department of Labor subpoena

Christopher Arps - operating as Capital City Roofing and Construction – continues to defy OSHA

 

LINCOLN, NE – A federal court has issued an order holding a Nebraska roofing contractor — who has stalled federal investigators for nearly a year — in contempt of court and imposing a fine of $100 a day if he fails to comply with a subpoena to provide the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration with documents necessary for an investigation of an employee's fall off a residential roof in Lincoln in February 2023. 

On Jan. 16, 2024, U.S. District Court Judge Robert F. Rossiter, Jr. of the District of Nebraska found Christopher C. Arps in contempt of court and ordered him to comply with OSHA's subpoena or face the daily fine. The court also ordered Arps to pay $5,926.56 to the department for legal fees and costs incurred. The court warned Arps that if he does not comply by Jan. 26, 2024, he may be subject to additional sanctions without further notice, including conditional incarceration.

OSHA opened an inspection at the Lincoln worksite after learning of the incident and determined the employee of Arps – who operates as Capital City Roofing and Construction – was working without fall protection when he suffered cardiac arrest, fell and sustained serious injuries. 

Arps denied the Feb. 8, 2023, incident occurred and refused to provide inspectors with requested information. 

"An employee of Capital City Roofing and Construction suffered serious injuries because his employer failed to protect him from falls. Falls remain the construction industry's leading cause of death and injuries," said OSHA Area Director Matt Thurlby in Omaha, Nebraska. "Christopher C. Arps' repeated denial of the injuries and refusal to cooperate with federal investigators shows a disturbing disregard for his employees' safety."

After Arps continued to defy OSHA's requests, the agency issued an administrative subpoena on Feb. 27, 2023, commanding him to provide documents related to his business, employees, worksite and safety practices. After Arps failed to respond to the subpoena, and he was given multiple opportunities to comply, the department's Office of the Solicitor in Kansas City, Missouri, filed a petition to enforce the subpoena. A federal judge ordered Arps to appear at a show cause hearing. He did not appear, and the court entered an order on May 26, 2023, that required him to produce documents to OSHA. When he did not, the Office of the Solicitor filed a motion to hold him in contempt for failing to comply with the court's orders.

"The court has upheld the U.S. Department of Labor's authority to subpoena documents to complete its safety investigations explained Regional Solicitor of Labor Christine Heri in Chicago. "Complying with federal safety and health regulations is not optional."

In 2022, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 1,056 construction workers died on the job, with 423 of those fatalities related to falls from elevation. Exposure to fall hazards makes residential construction work among the most dangerous jobs in construction.

OSHA's stop falls website offers safety information and video presentations in English and Spanish to teach workers about fall hazards and proper safety procedures

Learn more about OSHA.

 


Su v. Christopher Arps, Capital City Roofing and Construction
Case No. 8:23-CV-138


Media Contacts: 

Scott Allen, 312-353-4727, allen.scott@dol.gov 
Rhonda Burke, 312-353-4807, burke.rhonda@dol.gov

Release Number: 23-2350-KAN