MADISON -- Joseph D. Lacy charges his coal company employers took "discriminatory and/or retaliatory actions" in terminating him after some four months employment as an underground miner.

The complaint reviews Lacy's three-year contract with Support Mining Co., d/b/a Inman Coal; Massey Energy Co., and Massey Coal Services, Inc., as well as his relationship with Anthony Stollings individually, a supervisor where he worked from May 2008.

At the end of his night shift in August, Lacy says he saw that a bearing roller on the tailpiece of the belt line for a continuous miner machine was not turning, which caused sparking. He says he told the incoming day shift supervisor about what he saw and was assured it would be addressed.

Returning to work the next night, Lacy says he learned fire in the same mine section where he discussed the belt line sparking situation had shut down operations. He noted being questioned by Stollings, the third shift supervisor, about the source of the fire.

"Defendant Stollings instructed the plaintiff to be quiet," Lacy contends, "and not say anything to any mine inspectors ..."

Lacy says he was given "an illegal directive" to go into the mine alone to retrieve a section of cable and advised, as a "red hat," or trainee miner, he was not permitted to enter the mine alone.

Complaining he was "willfully, maliciously and unlawfully terminated" in early September 2008, Lacy maintains that a Massey letter dated September 24 falsely accused him of quitting his job and called attention to employment contract provisions relative to taking "legal action against the plaintiff should he re-enter the coal industry following his termination from employment with the defendants."

Lacy seeks jury relief for lost wages and benefits in an amount to be proven at trial; damages for indignity, embarrassment and humiliation; punitive damages, pre-judgment interest, litigation costs, and such further relief deemed just and equitable.

Attorney Michael A. Olivio is representing Lacy, and the case is before Judge William S. Thompson.

Boone Circuit Court case number 10-C-207

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