Pritchard Mining says coal test was altered

CHARLESTON - Pritchard Mining Company is claiming that tests on coal mined in West Virginia were altered to increase a New York-based company's profit. Pritchard Mining filed a lawsuit April 11 in Kanawha Circuit Court charging Euro-American Coal Trading of Brooklyn with intentionally providing false reports on the quality of coal purchased from Pritchard. Theodore Sohnen of Brooklyn, Vondy and Joshua Brunty of Beckley and Gerald Stokley of Stanaford are also listed as defendants for their alleged roles. Pritchard is represented by George A. Patterson III of Charleston law firm Bowles, Rice, McDavid, Graff and Love. "Sohnen intentionally and fraudulently altered reports from laboratory tests relating to the quality of coal Sohnen resold, and concealed and failed to disclose the actual laboratory reports," the complaint says. "The end user denied payment for coal previously delivered, and Pritchard was not paid." Euro-American purchased coal mined by Pritchard in Kanawha and Boone counties for the purpose of resale, and Pritchard trusted Euro-American to test the quality of it. Coal's purchase price is largely determined by quality tests. Pritchard says Euro-American forged results to increase its resell value. When Euro-American's buyer refused to pay, Pritchard says it lost out on $559,370.70. The lawsuit adds that Vondy Brunty was the supervisor during the testing. It charges the defendants with: Tortious interference with contract; fraud or misrepresentation in connection with the contract; fraud or misrepresentation; breach of duty of good faith and fair dealing; breach of contract; tortious interference with business relations; conversion; other individual liability of Sohnen; inequity against Sohnen and Euro-American for goods had and received; and liability of the other three defendants. Pritchard is seeking the $559,370.70 plus punitive damages. Judge James Stucky has been assigned the case. Kanawha Circuit Court case number 06-C-666

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