MADISON -- A couple seeks damages for the man's mining injuries working underground near the Black King North Portal of Elk Run Coal Co.

Jason and Hollie Spicer seek jury awards that include $50,000 and $100,000. The defendants accused of personal intent in the personal injury suit are Elk Run, Massey Coal Services Inc. and supervisor John Lackey II.

Spicer recounts that on Jan. 20, 2009, he was doing customary "move crew" duties preparing structuring belt to be moved to another location where pillaring had just been completed. Lackey, as crew leader, directed him and two other employees to get in a scoop bucket to speed up their movement to another section, the complaint says.

After the other men got in the scoop in a seated position, Spicer relates that Lackey "abruptly jerked the scoop and started driving" before he could get in the bucket. Spicer contends the abrupt motion caused the scoop lever to engage causing the scoop to rise toward the mine roof.

The event at issue as described by Spicer includes: "The scoop bucket quickly hit the roof of the mine knocking off Plaintiffs hard hat and causing him to be pushed into a crouched position forcing his head, shoulders and upper back to be forced between his knees toward his feet cutting his air off and not allowing him to scream or yell out ... and he was dragged against the roof/ceiling of the mine for approximately ten (10) to twenty (20) feet."

Complaint claims Lackey reacted erratically after stopping the machine and Spicer rolled onto the ground. He kept saying, according to the complaint that he would lose his job if the superintendent found out what had really happened.

Lackey also is accused of falsifying the accident investigation by reporting Spicer was driving the scoop and caused it to pin him to the mine roof.

Medical bills were paid by Workers' Compensation and Spicer "received temporary total disability benefits, permanent partial disability benefits and rehabilitation temporary benefits prior to settling ... for $40,000."

The Spicers seek joint and several damages of not less than $50,000 against all defendants. They also seek damages for diminishment of earning capacity, loss of consortium, past and future medical expenses, physical and mental suffering and anxiety, lost wages and future earnings. They also seek additional sums of not less than $100,000 against Massey and Lackey in punitive and exemplary damages.

Attorney Michael E. Froble is representing the Spicers. The case has been assigned to Judge William S. Thompson.

Boone Circuit Court case number: 11-C-11

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