Landowners accuse lessee of blocking $550 million in coal royalties

By Robert Hadley | Apr 12, 2016

LOGAN – Several West Virginia landowners say a firm that leased their coal rights is refusing to mine the land and is blocking efforts to find a new operator.

The Bruce McDonald Holding Co., David B. McDonald Land Co., Oakley LLC, S.E. McDonald LLC, C.B. Morris LLC, LOU LLC, Glenn T. Yost (as attorney-in-fact for Ernest Phipps Credit Shelter Trust) and CDC Real Estate LLC filed a lawsuit March 21 in Logan Circuit Court against Addington Inc. and The Brink’s Co., alleging breach of a lease agreement.

According to the complaint, The Brink’s Co. (formerly known as Pittston), acquired a lease from the defendants in 1978 to obtain low-sulfur coal from their land in Logan County in exchange for royalties. The suit says the defendant has failed to comply with the lease agreement by failing to mine the more than 20 million tons of recoverable coal in the mines and is refusing to allow a sublease for another mine operator. The plaintiffs claim the unrecovered royalties could total as much as $27.50 per ton.

The plaintiffs seek a jury trial and damages in an amount to be proven at trial. They are represented by attorneys Brian A. Glasser, Isaac R. Foreman and Nicholas S. Johnson of Bailey & Glasser LLP.

Judge William Douglas Witten is assigned to the case.

Logan Circuit Court Case number 16-C-70

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