MOUNDSVILLE – Two women are suing Murray Energy Corporation for the death of their family member.
Murray American Energy Inc., Ohio Valley Resources Inc., McElroy Coal Company and the Marshall County Coal Company were also named as defendants in the suit.
Amy Garloch, administratrix of the Estate of John Michael Garloch and co-administratrix of the ancillary estate of John Michael Garloch; and Courtney M. Garloch, the other co-administratrix of the ancillary estate of John Michael Garloch claim John Garloch was employed by McElroy, according to a complaint filed in Marshall Circuit Court.
Amy Garloch and Courtney Garloch claim McElroy failed to develop and implement effective policies and procedures to ensure that its longwall shearers did not shift out of proper alignment and mine off-center during longwall operations.
As a result, at some time prior to March 8, production was stopped at the 12-East longwall at the McElroy Mine because the shearer was cutting out-of-seam, according to the suit.
The plaintiffs claim halting production is significantly discouraged and frowned upon by Murray and, in an effort to alleviate the out-of-seam cutting problem, the defendants devised and implemented a plan to blast the coal in front of and under the panlines in an attempt to lower the panline and allow the shearer to cut into the seam.
On March 8, John Garloch was instructed by the defendants to assist in correcting the out-of-seam cutting condition on the 12-East longwall and at the time he arrived at the longwall, the out-of-seam face had increased from a height of seven feet to approximately 12 feet because of the removal of the materials in front of the panline, according to the suit.
The plaintiffs claim the added height, which put additional pressure and stress on the coal face, presented a high degree of risk and strong probability of serious injury or death to the miners working in that area and created an unsafe working condition.
While he was working on the panline and the longwall face, shoveling previously blasted materials from the mine floors, when a large piece of coal and rock that measured approximately 12 feet long, five feet wide and two feet thick, fell and crushed John Garloch, pinning him underneath, according to the suit.
The plaintiffs claim John Garloch suffered severe and fatal crushing injuries, which resulted in his death.
The defendants were negligent and allowed an unsafe workplace to exist, according to the suit.
The plaintiffs are seeking compensatory and punitive damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. They are being represented by Robert P. Fitzsimmons and Clayton J. Fitzsimmons of Fitzsimmons Law Firm PLLC.
Marshall Circuit Court case number: 15-C-192