Miner, wife blame companies for his injuries

By Carol Ostrow | Feb 27, 2015

PINEVILLE – A Lashmeet couple has filed a lawsuit against three companies for injuries allegedly received by the husband over the course of his career while working as a coal miner.

Douglas Thornton and Sheila Thornton brought suit against American Optical Corporation of Greenwich, Conn., Raleigh Mine and Industrial Supply Inc. of Mount Hope and Eastern States Mine Supply Co. of Madison on Feb. 4 in Wyoming Circuit Court, claiming product liability.

Douglas Thornton maintains that he was exposed to harmful dust on the job between 1972 and 2001, due to inadequacies of the respirators that were manufactured and sold by the defendants. Stating that the respirators leaked dust particles, he claims they caused him to contract pneumoconiosis, or “black lung” disease.

Alleging that the product’s filter defects were undetectable and adequate warnings were not provided, the Thorntons cite negligence and breach of warranty leading to bodily harm and mental anguish. The plaintiffs seek punitive and compensatory damages for medical expenses, plus attorneys’ fees and costs.

They are represented by G. Todd Houck of Mullens, as well as by Eric Jacobi, William Kenealy and Christopher Dukes of Kenealy & Jacobi, Louisville, Ky. The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Warren McGraw.

Wyoming County Circuit Court case number: 15-C-22

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