HAMLIN -- Argus Energy and six employees are accused of surface coal mining practices polluting and contaminating the water supply that led to the death of a Harts woman.

Sarah Lowe, resident of Franes Creek, contacted a terminal illness, a lawsuit filed in Lincoln Circuit Court alleges, because her well water was made unsafe by dangerous chemicals produced by defendants "negligently, carelessly and wrongfully" setting off explosives in the area.

Named defendants are Kenton Kelly, Dewey Maynard, Mark Barton, Anthony Beckett, Clan Messer and J.T. Spaulding together with Argus Energy, LLC and Argus Energy, LLC dba Argus Energy WV, LLC.

Barton, as chief engineer, and strip mining supervisor Messer had the duty to ensure compliance with West Virginia surface mining regulations, claims the suit presented June 12 in Lincoln Circuit Court by Charleston attorneys Marvin W. Masters, April D. Ferrebee, Trent A. Redman and Michael D. Payne for Warren Lowe Jr., Administrator of the Sarah Lowe Estate.

Spaulding managed a preparation plant in the vicinity of Lowe's residence. Beckett directed environmental compliance for the company, and Kelly and Maynard were certified surface mine blasters contracted to set off explosives near Harts.

The suit says Argus defendants are liable for the work done by the men named with regard to safeguarding well water of the neighborhood. Lowe Estate demands compensatory and punitive damages, jointly and severally, in a sum to be jury determined, together with pre-and-post-judgment interest, court costs, and such further relief deemed just and proper.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Jay M. Hoke.

Lincoln Circuit Court case number: 12-C-66

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