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Two Wrongful Death Lawsuits Filed Against West Virginia Mine Owners

Posted on Mar 25, 2011
Just shy of a year after the largest mine disaster in the last 40 years, two families of West Virginia miners who died in the Upper Big Branch mine disaster have filed wrongful death lawsuits against mine owner Massey Energy Company, who they say should have prevented the tragedy.

The West Virginia mine accident took place near Montcoal, WV, when a huge explosion roughly 1,000 feet underground killed twenty-mine miners. The investigation of the fatal accident is still ongoing, although many believe that flammable gases were ignited by a spark. The FBI, Massey Energy, the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration, and the State of West Virginia are all involved in the investigation, which has been made difficult because of dangerous conditions in the mines. Initial findings suggest that the mining equipment was not functioning properly and was not preventing dangerous sparks or minimizing dangerous coal dust. 

The two wrongful death lawsuits have been filed regarding the deaths of miners Joe Marcum and Adam Morgan. The families claim in the paperwork that the mine was run in a reckless and unsafe manner – including a number of federal regulation violations, accusations of criminal negligence, and perhaps even bribery of regulators. Another miner who was seriously injured in the blast has also filed a personal injury lawsuit against the mining company.

Massey has already settled seven other wrongful death cases in relation to the Upper Big Branch mine disaster – all for $3 million.

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