WHEELING -- The owners of two Ohio County land parcels are suing a Delaware-based mining company over claims of property damage sustained during a long-wall mining operation.

Plaintiffs Joseph and Betty Ann Bippus, alongside Mary Lee Bippus Fekete and Ronald Fekete, filed a suit June 26 in Ohio Circuit Court against Tunnel Ridge LLC, citing property damage and violations of the West Virginia Surface Coal Mining and Reclamation Act.

According to the complaint, Tunnel Ridge began a long-wall mining operation under the plaintiffs' Liberty District properties on August 1, 2013. The plaintiffs claim to have been assured by Tunnel Ridge that no harm would come to their property or the natural water sources contained below.

However, the plaintiffs allege that the ongoing mining operations have damaged their homes, reduced their water supplies and negatively impacted the land's value, among other complaints.

Citing West Virginia mining regulations, the plaintiffs assert that they are owed compensation by Tunnel Ridge, and seek compensatory and punitive damages, as well as damages for legal fees. They are represented in the suit by Eric Gordon of the Moundsville law firm Berry, Kessler, Crutchfield, Taylor & Gordon. Judge James P. Mazzone has been assigned to the case.

Ohio Circuit Court civil action number 15-c-193.

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