PINEVILLE – Ten lawsuits have been filed against Pinnacle Mining Company after the plaintiffs claim their properties have been damaged as a result of underground mining operations.

William T. Lester and Drema F. Lester; Morris Blankenship and Claudette Blankenship; Gregory Chafinand Sharon Chafin; Michael Estep and Mary Estep; Elmer Green and Violet Green; James Hatfield and Kristin Hatfield; Bessie Morgan; Mary Ricketts; and James C. Harper and Sarita S. Mullins, individually and as owner of Chase Kendall Inc., which is doing business as Center Food & Fuel are residents and/or owners that reside and/or do business in Wyoming County and their properties are near Indian Creek, about ten miles west of and approximately four miles from Pinnacle, according to ten complaints filed in Wyoming Circuit Court.

The plaintiffs claim Pinnacle negligently, carelessly and unlawfully damaged them and caused subsidence due to their underground mining activities damages their properties.

Pinnacle has conducted and/or is preparing to conduct long wall mining activities under several different mining permits issued pursuant to the West Virginia Surface Coal Mining Reclamation Act, according to the suits.

The plaintiffs claim the defendant’s underground mining activities have degraded the surface conditions above and caused damages to their properties.

Foundations, flooring and structural integrity have been compromised as a result of the defendant’s underground mining, according to the suits. The defendant has begun first mining leaving support columns underground, which has caused the plaintiffs’ walls to crack, separate from their structures and, in the case of Center Food & Fuel, their basement walls are warping and back deck is separating from the store.

The plaintiffs claim none of this happened until the underground mining operations began.

The defendant will be or has commenced long wall mining, which will leave fewer roof support consumables to allow for higher volumes of coal clearance systems, according to the suits.

The plaintiffs claim the long wall mining will cause surface subsidence and altering of the landscape above the mines, thereby further damaging the plaintiffs’ homes and businesses.

Pinnacle’s underground mining activities have created a nuisance, which has reduced the plaintiffs use and enjoyment of their properties, according to the suits

The plaintiffs claim the defendant’s actions are also considered trespassing and are grossly negligent.

The plaintiffs are seeking compensatory and punitive damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. They are being represented by Marvin W. Masters and Roger A. Decanio of the Masters Law Firm LC.

Wyoming Circuit Court case numbers: 15-C-203, 15-C-204, 15-C-205, 15-C-206, 15-C-207, 15-C-208, 15-C-209, 15-C-210, 15-C-211, 15-C-214

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