CHARLESTON – Mingo Logan Coal Co. denied all allegations against it in a complaint filed by an employee who sustained severe injuries while performing his work duties.
"This defendant pleads that the damages complained of by the plaintiff were not caused by any act or omission of this defendant," the defendant noted in the answer, which was filed Nov. 20 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.
The coal company argues that any damages or injuries the plaintiff sustained were caused or contributed to by the act, omission and/or other culpable conduct of a party, person and/or entity over which the coal company had no right of or duty to control and for which Mingo Logan Coal cannot be held liable.
Titus Rice filed the lawsuit against Mingo Logan Coal and Arch Coal alleging he was injured on June 29, 2017, when he was operating the continuous miner and a rock fell and struck him, pinning him to the mine floor.
Rice claims he suffered physical injuries to his head, neck, shoulder, back and right leg, including a fracture to the right fibular shaft. He also suffered permanent mental injuries.
The defendants had actual knowledge of the unsafe working condition and failed to fix it, according to the suit.
"As a direct and proximate result of the negligent, careless and reckless acts and/or omissions of defendant ... its employees, agents and representatives, plaintiff ... asserts claims for both compensable and punitive damages," the complaint states.
Rice is seeking compensatory and punitive damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. He is represented by Andrew D. Byrd and Robert B. Warner of Warner Law Offices.
Mingo Coal is represented by Matthew J. Perry and Randall L. Trautwein of Lamp Bartram Levy Trautwein & Perry.
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia case number 2:19-cv-00812