CHARLESTON – A Mingo County woman is suing Midland Trail Energy LLC after she claims her husband was fatally injured because of its negligence.

Patriot Coal Corporation, Patriot Coal Services LLC, Tons Per Hour Inc., Conn-Weld Industries Inc., Coyote Coal Company LLC, West Virginia Electric Corporation, West Virginia Electric Industries Ind., Rockwell Automation Inc., Allen-Bradley Company, MH Equipment-Ohio LLC, Corky Wells Electric Inc., which is doing business as CW Electric, Rock & Coal Construction Inc., Swanson Industries Inc., Morgantown Machine & Hydraulics of West Virginia Inc., M&S Hydraulics Inc., State Electric Supply Company, DRA Taggart LLC, DRA Taggart Operations LLC and Speed Mining LLC.

Brandon E. Townsend was employed by Patriot Coal Services as an electrical processes specialist, according to a complaint filed Feb. 4 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Natasha N. Townsend claims Midland Trail, Patriot and Patriot Coal Services made various adjustments to two filter presses without consulting Conn-Weld and/or Tons Per Hour and also replaced and/or changed various components on the presses and/or components that affected press operation.

On Feb. 6, 2013, Midland Trail was experiencing issues with the presses and at approximately 11 a.m., slurry unexpectedly sprayed from the top of one of the presses, known as "B" press, with enough force to tear insulation from the roof of the press building, according to the suit.

Natasha Townsend claims the slurry feed pump on the "A" press started abnormally, feeding slurry into the A"A press while it was still in an open position and, at the time of the malfunctions of both presses, the operator control screens were showing inaccurate information as to the cycles that one or both machines were in.

In an effort to fix the problems with the presses, Midland Train reset the power to both presses, but it did not resolve the issues and Brandon Townsend was contacted to help troubleshoot the presses, according to the suit.

Natasha Townsend claims her husband arrived at the press building at approximately 3 p.m. and was examining the hydraulic pressure gauge that one of the defendants had mounted on top of the upper hydraulic cylinder of the "A" press.

While Brandon Townsend was examining the hydraulic pressure gauge on the "A" press, both hydraulic rams on the "A" press catastrophically failed, sending both rams into the walkway where he was standing, fatally injuring him, according to the suit.

Natasha Townsend claims the defendants were negligent and breached their express warranty and implied warranty.

As a result of the defendants' negligence, Brandon Townsend was fatally injured, according to the suit.

Natasha Townsend is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. She is being represented by Brian L. Ooten and Sabrena Olive Gillis of Shaffer & Shaffer PLLC.

The case is assigned to Circuit Judge Carrie Webster.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 15-C-257

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