WILLIAMSON — A Mingo County man is suing a tree cutting business, alleging negligence, civil conspiracy, intentional infliction of emotional distress and premises liability.

Tommie L. Spears filed a complaint May 10 in Mingo Circuit Court against Ransom Chafin Sr., Chafin Clear Cutting Inc. and Southeastern Land LLC, alleging they failed to exercise reasonable care and caution for the safety of its workers.

According to the complaint, on Jan. 20, Spears was directed by Chafin to cut timber on Southeastern's valley fill site near Lenore. Unbeknownst to Spears, the suit says, a tree that was left partially cut sprang back toward him, crushing and causing the plaintiff catastrophic injuries, including a broken back and ribs, ruptured aorta, collapsed lung and shattered cheekbones. 

As a result, Spears says he suffered emotional distress, inconvenience, and incurred medical bills. The suit says he was further damaged from being denied workers compensation coverage because of Chafin's misrepresentation to the insurer that the plaintiff was an independent contractor. 

The plaintiff alleges the defendants created a dangerous condition by allowing untrained individuals to cut trees, failed to inspect the work area prior to cutting trees, and failed to provide a cutting plan or personal protective equipment.

Spears seeks trial by jury, general and special damages, punitive damages, costs of court, and other just relief. He is represented by attorneys R. Booth Goodwin II, Benjamin B. Ware and Elise N. McQuain of Goodwin & Goodwin LLP in Charleston.

Mingo Circuit Court case number 17-c-91

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