MADISON -- A Raleigh County couple and their son spell out eight counts that include negligence, deliberate intent and liability on the part of Massey Energy operations that caused James Kenneth Woods to suffer permanent injuries from the Upper Big Branch underground mine explosion.
Madison Attorney Brian L. Ooten filed the Woods family case Feb. 14 in Boone Circuit Court against Massey Energy Co.; A.T. Massey Coal Co.; Massey Coal Sales Co.; Massey Coal Services, Inc.; Don Blankenship; and Performance Coal Co.
The complaint says Blankenship, as Massey Energy's chief executive officer, "exercised direction and control over all other Defendants named herein."
Performance Coal operated the UBB mine where 29 workers were fatally injured last April 5. Federal and state officials continue investigating that disaster.
James K. Woods, according to the suit, was working in Performance Coal's UBB mine when the explosion occurred. He suffered permanent physical and emotional injuries, including brain injuries, according to the complaint, leaving him an incapacitated adult.
His wife, Teresa Faye Woods, is described as Guardian/Conservator in the case. Son James Jeremy Woods was working at UBB when he heard his father's voice on the underground radio requesting exit clearance for a mantrip. Then feeling the blast, Jeremy says he "was immediately aware that his father was involved and inside the mine," and he was restrained from trying to enter UBB. According to complaint, told his father had died, Jeremy claims he suffered serious emotional distress.
Woods demand jury judgment in an amount to adequately and fairly compensate for damages, pre- and post-judgment interest, recovery of litigation expenses, and punitive damages.
The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge William S. Thompson.
Boone Circuit Court case number: 11-C-31