Maryland Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed by Families of Two Coal Miners Killed in 2007 Mine Collapse

The families of Michael Wilt and Dale Jones have filed their Maryland wrongful death lawsuit against Tri-Star Mining Inc., its owner George Beener, the land owner of the mine, BTC Trucking, BTC Developments, consulting firm Dugan Associates, Western Maryland Associates, Bituminous Safety Services, Inc., and Highland Engineering and Surveying Inc. The plaintiffs are seeking $8 million for the wrongful deaths of coal miners Jones and Wilton during a mine collapse.

The two men were fatally crushed on April 17, 2007 when one of the mine walls at Tri-Star Mining Inc. collapsed. The wall was comprised of thousands of tons of rock.

The plaintiffs contend that the Maryland mine collapse happened because of recklessly unsafe conditions at the workplace. They are accusing the defendants of negligence, including telling miners that it was safe to work at the bottom of the 275-foot high wall.

The US Mine Safety and Health Administration had to issue several citation after the catastrophic coal mining accident because a full inspection of the wall hadn’t been conducted. According to the Alleghany County, Maryland wrongful death complaint, an inspection would have found that the wall was not stable and that the four days of rain that happened prior to the collapse made the wall’s condition worse.

Coal miners expose themselves to dangerous conditions on the job on a regular basis, which is why it is so important that mining companies and those involved with overseeing any projects ensure that all safety measures are in place. Earlier this month, 29 workers from an explosion at Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch mine. The deadly blast is being called the worst coal mining disaster in the US in four decades. One widow, Marlene Griffith, has already filed a wrongful death lawsuit seeking compensation after her husband William was killed in the Massey mining blast.

According to the US Labor Department, Massey was cited 515 times last year violations at the mine and already has received over 100 violations in 2010. In the week following the deadly blast, investigators discovered over 60 serious safety violations.

Families of 2 Maryland Miners File Wrongful Death Suit, Insurance Journal, April 20, 2010
Massey Mine Had ‘Significant History’ of Violations, Business Week, April 15, 2010
Widow files wrongful death lawsuit, WKYT, April 19, 2010
Related Web Resources:

US Mine Safety and Health Administration

Coal Mining Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities in 2006, US Department of Labor

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