WHEELING - A lawsuit against McElroy Coal Company and Consol Energy Company has been removed to federal court.

The defendants, whose principal places of business reside in Canonsburg, Penn., claim while the theory of liability is unclear, the plaintiffs are seeking to impose liability against them for allegedly causing substantial damage to their property, among other damages.

In light of the various alleged types and forms of damages, and as evidenced by the Affidavit of counsel for Defendants, the amount in controversy is in excess of $75,000, according to a Notice of Removal filed July 30 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia at Wheeling.

Michael Schoene and Patricia Schoene are owners of certain real estate located in Marshall County, according to a complaint originally filed June 26 in Marshall Circuit Court.

The Schoenes claim the defendants' mining activities have caused them substantial damages and have caused substantial physical damage to the interior and exterior of their residence.

The defendants' conduct has been "so outrageous that the plaintiffs are entitled to recover punitive damages from the defendants in order to punish them and to deter them and other individuals and/or entities from engaging in similar conduct in the future," according to the suit.

The Schoenes are seeking compensatory and punitive damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. They are being represented by James G. Bordas Jr. and Jeremy M. McGraw of Bordas & Bordas PLLC.

The defendants are being represented by Rodger L. Puz and J.R. Hall of Dickie McCamey & Chilcote PC in Pittsburgh.

The case has been assigned to District Judge John Preston Bailey.

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia at Wheeling case number: 5:13-cv-00095

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