The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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November 7, 2013

Judge dismisses suit filed by families of UBB miners

A federal judge last week dismissed a lawsuit filed by survivors of three miners killed in the Upper Big Branch mine explosion on April 5, 2010.  

The suit sought payment of $1.5 million for each of the miners’ families which had not received voluntary restitution and/or full settlements pursuant to a federal non-prosecution agreement from Alpha Natural Resources Inc. and Alpha Appalachia Holdings Inc., formerly known as Massey Energy Co.

The suit claimed that at least nine and perhaps as many as 11 of the families of the fallen miners had not received the agreed-upon voluntary restitution.

U.S. District Judge Irene C. Berger dismissed the entire case with prejudice, meaning it cannot be refiled. The court order was entered on Oct. 31.

The action had been brought by Jeffrey C. Skeens, son and administrator of the estate of Grover Skeens; Carolyn D. Davis, wife and administratrix of the estate of Charles T. Davis; and Owen T. Davis, father and administrator of the estate of Cory Davis. Grover Skeens, Charles T. Davis and Cory Davis were among the 39 miners who lost their lives in the UBB disaster.

The plaintiffs had previously settled wrongful death cases with Massey Energy prior to Alpha Appalachia Holdings Inc.’s acquisition of the mining company. Those settlements were placed under seal by the courts.

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