On June 12, 2015, the 11th Circuit ordered the arrest of Guillermo Perez and Elma Maldonado, president and vice president of GP Roofing & Construction, LLC, based in Palm Coast, Fla., because the company failed to comply with a March 30 civil contempt order. They were taken into custody on June 16, 2015, and appeared before magistrate judge James Klindt, U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida in Jacksonville.
In May 2013, the Department of Labor filed a petition for summary enforcement pursuant to Section 11(b) of the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act with the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to enforce nine final orders of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. Those final orders arose from nine OSHA inspections of GP Roofing worksites in Florida that resulted in citations being issued to the company between Aug. 3, 2011 and Oct. 29, 2012. The citations allege multiple willful, repeat and serious violations of OSHA fall-protection, eye and face protection, safe-ladder and other standards. On Aug. 7, 2013 the court granted the department's petition, enforcing the final orders of the commission.
On Sept. 12, 2014 the department filed a Petition for Civil Contempt against GP Roofing, alleging that the company had failed to comply with the court's August 2013 order, based on evidence that the company continued to violate OSHA standards and failed to pay the penalties assessed. On March 30, 2015 the circuit court held the company and its officers in civil contempt; ordered the company to pay the outstanding penalties of $195,170 plus interest and fees; and also required the company to certify that it had corrected the violations. The court's contempt order notified Mr. Perez and Ms. Maldonado that any noncompliance with the court's order would result in coercive sanctions, including incarceration.
Perez and Maldonado were held in custody until their June 23, 2015 hearing. At the hearing they were released on signature bonds to make progress on purging the contempt. Conditions of their release included surrendering Perez's passport and limiting their travel to the state of Florida. Perez and Maldonado were also given 30 days to work on paying all outstanding penalties or demonstrating inability to pay and certifying that they have abated the OSHA violations cited in prior inspections. The final hearing is scheduled for Aug. 26, 2015.
"This enforcement action demonstrates that OSHA can and will take action to ensure that standards are followed and that companies like GP Roofing that ignore multiple court orders requiring correction of violations and payment of penalties will be held accountable," said Kurt Petermeyer, the regional administrator for OSHA in Atlanta.