BECKLEY – A federal judge entered an order approving a settlement against Mechel Bluestone and Double-Bonus Coal Company.

According to the settlement documents, the defendants agreed to pay the sum of $300,000 and that within 60 days after the notice of settlement agreement issues, class members may notify the class counsel whether they wish to be placed on a call-back list from which they shall be returned to employment on the basis of their seniority at the Double Bonus Mine.

Class members who are not lost members shall each receive a sum of $3,046.87. Attorneys will receive $70,000 in attorney’s fees. Class counsel will receive an administrative fee of $25,000 and Michael Ray, the class representative will receive a fee of $10,000.

District Judge Irene C. Berger agreed that the final settlement was fair and reasonable.

The lawsuit was originally filed in Wyoming Circuit Court in 2015 and was later removed to federal court. 

Ray claimed he and other employees were verbally informed in October 2012 that they were being laid off for an indefinite period of time. They were then laid off beginning Nov. 15, 2012.

Neither Ray, nor a representative of his collective bargaining unit of the United Mine Workers of America, received written notice that the employees would be laid off prior to the occurrence of their layoffs in 2012.

On Nov. 25, 2013, Ray and other employees were again verbally informed that they were being laid off again for an indefinite period of time and the lay-offs began on Dec. 19, 2013. The plaintiff claims they, again, were not provided written notice prior to the lay-offs.

Ray claims full-time laid-off employees were not all provided with the holiday pay due to them during Thanksgiving in November 2013. He also claims medical insurance coverage was terminated 30 days after Dec. 19, 2013, and dental coverage was terminated on Dec. 31, 2013.

The defendants violated the WARN Act and caused the plaintiff and class members damages, according to the suit.

Ray and the class members were represented by Samuel B. Petsonk and Bren J. Pomponio of Mountain State Justice.

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia case number: 5:15-cv-03014

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