CHARLESTON – A lawsuit filed by Logan County residents against CSX Transportation and the state Department of Environmental Protection has been moved to Kanawha Circuit Court.

The lawsuit, which focuses on flooding near an abandoned mine in the Chapmanville area, shows the case, originally was filed in Logan Circuit Court. But Logan Circuit Judge Roger L. Perry granted a change of venue request from the plaintiffs on Oct. 5 because West Virginia Code says the proper venue for actions against state agencies is Kanawha County.

Because of that, Perry declined to rule on the DEP's motion to dismiss the case on the grounds that there was a failure to give the state agency proper notice of the suit.

The suit, filed by Charleston attorney Letisha R. Bika, claims CSX and the DEP both are responsible for flooding that damaged the property of plaintiffs Adda Motto, Marie Carey, David Carey, Kristi Carey and Sharon Runyon. All of them live near the intersection of Godby Branch Road and W.Va. 10 in Chapmanville.

The plaintiffs claim the state DEP's Office of Abandoned Mine Lands and Reclamation is negligent with respect to a nearby abandoned mine and that CSX is negligent because it installed the culvert and owes them a duty of maintaining it.

The suit says mine collapses resulted in excessive amounts of water being deposited along the road, which led to damages suffered by the plaintiffs.

The plaintiffs' properties flooded on June 16, 2003. The suit says they suffered damages to real and personal properties with several having suffered total destruction of their homes and related belongings.

The suit says that before that incident, none of them – including several elderly and lifelong residents – ever had experienced flooding of their properties and homes.

They seek judgment against defendants, jointly and severally in an amount deemed fair and just by the jury for each plaintiff for compensatory damages to real and personal property. They also seek damages for annoyance, aggravation, inconvenience, loss of use of property, damages for physical injury, mental anguish and loss of peace of mind. Also, they seek damages for medical and/or hospital expenses; damages for punitive damages as well as pre- and post-judgment interest and all court costs and expenses as well as other general relief.

The damages against DEP are sought under and up to the limit of the state's liability insurance coverage.

The plaintiffs seek a jury trial.

The case has been assigned to Kanawha Circuit Judge Tod Kaufman.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 05-C-2757

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