Maryland man sues Vindex for work injuries

MORGANTOWN -- An Oakland, Md., man is suing Vindex Energy Corporation after he claims he was injured while working in an underground coal mine. MineTemp Services, LLC was also named as a defendant in the suit. On July 3, 2010, MineTemp entered into an independent contractor agreement with Vindex whereby MineTemp would provide contract laborers that were to remain as employees of MineTemp to perform underground mining work at locations including Vindex's Bismark underground mine, according to a complaint filed Aug. 23 in Monongalia Circuit Court. Cory Lipscomb, an employee of MineTemp, claims on Aug. 30, 2011, he was employed as a roof bolter performing work at Vindex's Bismark underground mine when he encountered wet and muddy conditions in the roadway which made it difficult to operate equipment. Due to the wet and muddy floor conditions in the No. 9 entry of the Bismark mine, the roof bolting machine being operated by Lipscomb and his co-worker had to be pushed into place by a scoop in order to perform the task of installing permanent roof support in the No. 9 entry, according to the suit. Lipscomb claims following the installation of permanent roof support in the No. 9 entry, the shift was nearing its end and the men were instructed by mine management to move the roof bolter to the No. 5 entry for the oncoming shift, but as he and his co-worker began to tram the roof bolter, it once again became stuck, which was immediately communicated by radio to a member of mine management. Shortly afterward, a member of Vindex's mine management directed and instructed an employee of MineTemp who was an apprentice miner, also known as a red hat miner, to operate the scoop and tram it to the No. 9 entry to retrieve the roof bolting machine, according to the suit. Lipscomb claims after hooking a tow chain to the roof bolting machine, the scoop was used by the apprentice miner to attempt to pull the roof bolting machine out, however, the cable became pinched near the rib, so he and his co-worker flagged the apprentice miner to stop. After the scoop and bolter were stopped and stationary, Lipscomb attempted to free the cable to prevent damage to it when suddenly, without warning, the "untrained, unskilled and unsupervised inexperienced red hat miner resumed movement of the scoop without ensuring that plaintiff was in a safe location, pulling the roof bolter toward the rib of the mine and crushing plaintiff between the frame of the roof bolter and the mine rib," according to the suit. Lipscomb claims he suffered severe and permanently disabling injuries, including multiple fractures to his pelvis and hip area and traumatic rupture and scarring of his bladder. The defendants' actions show a complete disregard for the safety of their employees and contractors by allowing an untrained and inexperienced miner to perform a task which endangered himself and those around him, according to the suit. Lipscomb is seeking compensatory and punitive damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. He is being represented by D. Blake Carter Jr. Monongalia Circuit Court case number: 12-C-558

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