West Virginia Record

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Couple blames mine for man's injuries

By Carol Ostrow | May 8, 2015


PINEVILLE — A Wyoming County couple filed a lawsuit against a coal mining operation, its affiliate and four individuals for alleged liability in a 2014 workplace incident.

Shawn and Ericka James of Pikeville brought a complaint against Cliffs Logan County Coal LLC of Ohio; Matt Brown, Lonnie Evans and Nathan Brada, all of West Virginia; Brady Fouch of Kentucky; and Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. of Ohio (CNR), last month in Wyoming Circuit Court, claiming responsibility for Shawn’s injuries in an April 2014 event.

The plaintiffs identify three of the individual defendants — Brown, Evans and Brada — as supervisors for Cliffs Logan. Shawn James was employed by Cliffs Logan as a continuous miner operator at the Lower War Eagle mine in Wyoming County. CNR is an affiliate of Cliffs Logan and oversaw the mine operation, the complaint states.

According to papers filed, Shawn was working in an area previously determined to be hazardous in April 2014. Specifically, the lawsuit cites geological conditions creating unstable pillars and ribs on a regular basis. The plaintiff alleges that a large portion of rib destabilized, crushing his right leg, ankle and foot while he was operating equipment on April 4, 2014.

The suit states that defendants were made aware of the hazard, and that the adverse conditions were readily apparent, but that the defendants failed to take measures to strengthen the mine structure to avoid accidents.

The couple cites: physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, physical impairment, scarring and disfigurement; lost wages, earning capacity and enjoyment of life; medical expenses; embarrassment, humiliation, annoyance and inconvenience.

Alleging deliberate exposure, unsafe working conditions and deliberate negligence of safety standards, the plaintiffs seek compensatory and punitive damages, pre- and post-judgment interest, attorneys’ fees; and costs.

The plaintiffs are represented by Timothy Bailey and J. Ryan Stewart of Bucci, Bailey and Javins of Charleston.

Wyoming Circuit Court case no. 15-C-67

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Bucci, Bailey and Javins