BECKLEY -- A Virginia man claims he was permanently injured following a fall on Consol Energy property, and now, Consol is removing the case to federal court.
On Nov. 9, 2005, Larry Addison of Abington was exploring some property in Tazewell County, Va., that he heard a hunting club frequented.
Addison followed the state road until it ended at what appeared to be a logging road. He continued on the logging road and got his automobile stuck in some mud. He spent some time trying to free the vehicle, but when it started to get dark, he decided to walk to a home he had seen about two miles back. Addison mistook some lights in the wooded area along the road for closer homes, and as he got closer, he walked off a high wall approximately 60 to 90 feet tall.
Addison claims his fall resulted from Amonate Coal Company and Consol Energy not identifying the property with any signs stating no trespassing or blasting zone. He also claims no chains or fences surrounding the property or prevented people from entering the logging road.
He also claims that Amonate Coal Company and Consol Energy created an inherently and abnormally dangerous condition by failing to provide any warning of the high wall.
In the original complaint, filed Nov. 9, 2007, by Richard Hardison of Beckley, Addison claims he sustained serious and permanent injuries to his head, face, teeth, jaw, and back resulting in physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, permanent physical impairment and disfigurement, loss of wages and benefits, loss of enjoyment of life, past and future medical expenses, annoyance, and inconvenience. He was seeking a trial by jury to award a judgment as well as attorney fees and interest.
Hardison and Addison had filed the complaint in the Circuit Court of McDowell County, and now, Consol Energy is seeking a removal it to the United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.
Filed by Steven McGowan and Natalie Schaefer of the Charleston firm of Steptoe & Johnson, the removal is being sought on the basis that Amonate Coal Company of McDowell County is a fraudulent joinder because its corporate licensure was revoked in 1996 when it failed to file annual returns and reports and because Consol Energy has no connection to it. Also, Consol Energy believes that the amount Addison is seeking is more than $75,000, excluding interests and costs.
Because of these, Consol Energy believes the District Court of the United States has original jurisdiction.