CHARLESTON - A man is suing Coal River Mining LLC for wrongfully terminating his employment after he suffered work-related injuries.
Chris Edward Sanders was hired in May 2011 as an underground miner for the defendant, according to a complaint filed July 15 in Kanawha Circuit Court.
Sanders claims he was injured on Aug. 8, 2011, and was taken to the hospital, where two members of the defendant's safety department accompanied him.
After Sanders was examined by a physician, the defendant demanded Sanders return to work the following shift in a light duty capacity, but his pain prevented him from working and he was placed on a leave of absence, according to the suit.
Sanders claims while on medical leave, he received regular treatments from his physician and attended physical therapy and sometime in late October or early November, he was released to return to work in a light duty capacity.
The defendant was advised of Sanders' work release and he returned to work. However, Sanders was told by the defendant's superintendent, David Cobb, that there was no light duty work available and sent him home during his first shift, according to the suit.
Sanders claims when he contacted his workers' compensation claim representative, he was advised to remain off work until he received a full release to return to work.
In early 2012, Sanders was released to return to work and sometime after returning to work, he suffered an anxiety attack and was placed on another leave of absence, according to the suit.
Sanders claims while on medical leave he was contacted by the defendant and required to attend an annual refresher course, but his medical conditions and leave of absence prevented him from attending the refresher course and when he returned to work shortly after, his employment was terminated.
The defendant wrongfully discharged Sanders and violated the West Virginia Human Rights Act, according to the suit.
Sanders claims the defendant's adverse treatment of him was substantially motivated by his disability and the defendant subsequently hired individuals without disabilities to perform the duties and tasks formerly performed by him.
As a direct and proximate result of the defendant's conduct, Sanders suffered a loss of pay, physical pain, emotional pain, suffering, inconvenience, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life and other non-pecuniary losses, according to the suit.
Sanders is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. He is being represented by Stephen B. Farmer and Matthew H. Nelson of Farmer, Cline & Campbell PLLC.
The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Paul Zakaib Jr.
Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 13-C-1319