W.Va. high court sets date for MSHA liability case
CHARLESTON (AP) — The West Virginia Supreme Court has set an October argument date to consider the issue of whether Mine Safety and Health Administration inspectors can be held liable for coal miners’ deaths.
A federal appeals court in Richmond last week ruled that West Virginia’s high court should take up the issue because there’s no case law, constitutional authority or state statute to definitively answer the question. A hearing is set for Oct 17.
The widows of miners Don Bragg and Ellery Hatfield sued MSHA in April 2010. The men died when they were trapped in a fire in 2006 in Massey Energy’s Aracoma mine. The lawsuit alleges that MSHA was negligent and that the inspectors who’d failed to find problems in the mine should be held liable under West Virginia law.