CHARLESTON – Two men are suing trucking firms that work together to haul coal, claiming they both were fired for complaining about the shoddy conditions of the coal trucks.

Kevin Stone, of Charleston, and Donald Daniel Eskins, of Seth, filed identical lawsuits April 3 in Kanawha Circuit Court against Mate Creek Trucking and Titan Transport.

The plaintiffs, both coal truck drivers, say they complained on a regular basis about the condition of the trucks.

The plaintiffs worked for the defendants haul coal from a location near Campbells Creek to various coal loading facilities in eastern Kanawha County.

The plaintiffs say they regularly completed "drivers vehicle inspection reports" required by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and detailed problems with lights, steering boxes, backup lights, tire conditions, lack of maintenance, axle and brake sticking, worn out dump bed pins and other conditions that allegedly violate those regulations.

The plaintiffs say the companies refused to address the problems and fired both on Jan. 31, 2009.

The terminations and alleged conspiracy on the parts of the companies to prevent the men from getting jobs elsewhere were means to "contravene the substantial public policy" of the state as laid out in the West Virginia Occupational Safety and Health Act.

Both are seeking compensatory and punitive damages and legal costs.

Harvey D. Peyton is representing the plaintiffs.

Kanawha Circuit Court case numbers: 09-C-604 and 09-C-606

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