On April 4, 2010, 29 coal miners working in the Upper Big Branch mine were killed in an explosion. This tragic disaster turned out to be the worst coal mining accident in four decades.
An independent investigation found that the coal company that operated the mine was directly responsible for the blast. The company was operating the mine in a horribly illegal manner, and they were issued 369 citations for flagrant safety violations that contributed to the explosion.
On the 11-year anniversary of the Upper Big Branch mining disaster, we at Bailey, Javins, and Carter honor the miners who lost their lives that day. Each day, tens of thousands of coal miners go to work in inherently dangerous conditions in order to provide for their families. At the very least, their employers have a duty to take all reasonable measures necessary to ensure a safe work environment. Had the coal company lived up to their duty to protect their workers, this disaster would not have occurred.
Our firm was privileged to represent several of the families of the fallen workers from the Upper Big Branch disaster, and we took a lead role by recovering multiple times more than the $3 million per family the coal company was offering. We know that no amount of money can replace those workers who were lost because of this disaster, but by holding the coal company and others like them fully accountable when they engage in such egregious conduct, we can help ensure that West Virginia employers finally start putting the safety of their workers ahead of their bottom line.
Reprinted from Bailey Javins & Carter, LC