Widow sues Massey Energy for husband’s lung injury, death

By Kyla Asbury | Feb 14, 2013

CHARLESTON – A widow is suing Massey Energy Company after she says her husband suffered complicated pneumoconiosis and died while awaiting a double lung transplant.

Alpha Appalachia Services, Green Valley Coal Company, White Buck Coal Company, Alex Energy, Don L. Blankenship, J. Christopher Adkins, Gary Frampton and David C. Hughart were also named as defendants in the suit.

Mark Toler was employed by Alex from 2008 until 2011, according to a complaint filed Feb. 1 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Kimberly Toler claims the defendants exposed Mark Toler to illegal and unsafe levels of respirable dust and, as a result, he suffered complicated pneumoconiosis and was awaiting a double lung transplant at the time of his death.

The defendants failed to ensure that the mines complied with the laws and regulations designed to assure worker safety; failed to implement effective controls to address unsound and illegal conditions and practices; directed mine employees to continue production despite substantial safety issues; failed to provide adequate training, warning or protective equipment; authorized and adopted illegal practices relating to dust sampling procedures; and failed to take action to prevent the conditions that resulted in Mark Toler being diagnosed with complicated pneumoconiosis and ultimately dying from the disease, according to the suit.

Kimberly Toler claims as a result of the defendants’ illegal and unlawful conduct, her husband suffered personal injuries and pain and suffering prior to his death.

The defendants’ negligence also caused Kimberly Toler to suffer a loss of financial support, general services, companionship, love, advice and society of Mark Toler, according to the suit.

Kimberly Toler is seeking compensatory and punitive damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. She is being represented by Timothy C. Bailey, J. Ryan Stewart, Michael J. Brickman and Gregory A. Lofstead.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Paul Zakaib Jr.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 13-C-223

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