Another Upper Big Branch widow files suit

By Chris Dickerson and Kyla Asbury | Jun 16, 2010

MADISON -- The widow of a miner employed more than four years at the Upper Big Branch Mine has filed the second wrongful death suit related to the April 5 explosion that killed 29 coal miners.

MADISON -- The widow of a miner employed more than four years at the Upper Big Branch Mine has filed the second wrongful death suit related to the April 5 explosion that killed 29 coal miners.

Helen Maynor, as administratrix of the Estate of Ronald Maynor, filed the complaint in Boone Circuit Court against three coal companies and their top executive.

She says she is entitled to recover, jointly and severally, from the defendants "all damages allowed for Wrongful Death by West Virginia Code 55-7-6." She also wants a jury to award punitive damages and litigation costs, plus pre- and post-judgment interest against Performance Coal Co. dba Upper Big Branch Mining Co., Massey Coal Services Inc., Massey Energy Co. and Massey CEO Don Blankenship.

Ronald Maynor, a 31-year-old scoop operator for Performance Coal, died as a result of the April 10 explosion in the underground mine.

His widow charges Performance Coal knowingly exposed him to unsafe working conditions; that Massey Coal Services "was responsible for designing and implementing the safety program" at Upper Big Branch, Massey Energy failed "to exercise competent direction and control of defendants Performance Coal and Massey Coal Services..." and Blankenship "was willfully negligent and acted in a reckless manner in his direction and control of all other defendants," according to the complaint filed May 17 in Boone Circuit Court.

Judge William S. Thompson will preside over the Maynor complaint presented by Attorney Mark D. Moreland.

Moreland also filed the first lawsuit over the disaster on behalf of Marlene Griffith, widow of William Griffith. It was filed April 15 in Raleigh Circuit Court.

Boone Circuit Court case number: 10-C-122

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