CHARLESTON -- A Glasgow woman is suing Medford Trucking after she claims the company is responsible for her 32-year-old son's death.
Elk Run Coal Company, which is doing business has Republic Energy, was also named as a defendant in the suit.
On Dec. 4, 2010, Charles Robert Qualls was operating a No. 300 Kenworth coal truck when its brakes failed, forcing him to intentionally drive the coal truck into a straddle berm, according to a complaint filed Oct. 20 in Kanawha Circuit Court.
Nancy Lewis claims when her son drove the coal truck into the straddle berm, the truck overturned and Qualls was either ejected from the truck or had attempted to escape before the cab rolled over.
Prior to the accident, two out of six brake canisters on the coal truck were beyond the manufacturer's stroke length for safe operation and did not function properly; one of the six brake drums were worn beyond the manufacturer's maximum wear limits; and the right center trailer brake was not functioning, according to the suit.
Lewis claims the defendants failed to properly identify and correct the unsafe conditions and/or deliberately disregarded them.
As he was exiting the coal truck, Qualls became partially pinned beneath the passenger side of the truck cab, which crushed his body against the ground, according to the suit.
Lewis claims the defendants' unsafe working conditions presented a high degree of risk and strong probability of serious injury or death and that the defendants knew of the conditions prior to the accident.
The defendants violated state and/or federal safety statutes, rules and regulations, according to the suit.
Lewis is seeking compensatory and punitive damages with pre-judgment interest. She is being represented by Robert B. Warner, Tammy Bowles Raines, Robert P. Fitzsimmons and Clayton J. Fitzsimmons.
The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge James C. Stucky.
Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 11-C-1883