Injured miner sues operator, contractor for negligence

A WEST Virginia miner has filed a lawsuit for injuries from a 2010 dozer rollover, alleging negligence on the part of the operator and employing contractor.

Donna Schmidt

According to a report in legal journal the West Virginia Record, Anthony Lester has named Bandmill Coal and Hi-Tech Construction as defendants in the suit he filed September 21 in Kanawha Circuit Court in Charleston.

Lester said in his documentation that he was assigned as the operator of a Caterpillar D6N bulldozer at the mine on September 29, 2010, and was tasked with pushing dirt over the steep highwall cliff to cover exposed rock of the highwall

While carrying out the task, he “plummeted down the steep mountainside, falling over the highwall cliff and rolling multiple times until it came to rest several hundred feet down the mountainside”, according to the suit.

He said that Bandmill failed to adequately secure his dozer to the mountainside where he was assigned, exposing him to a high risk of serious injury or death from plummeting down the mountainside and over the highwall cliff.

In addition to using a dozer that had been crashed numerous times before the date in question, damaging the unit’s rollover protective structure, Lester claimed the defendants did not maintain the securing cable.

Additionally, according to the Record, the defendants’ foreman ordered him to operate the vehicle without adequate protection.

Lester also said in the suit that the complex’s dozers were not equipped with functional radio communications, exposing him to high risk of serious injury or death because he was unable to request assistance.

The miner is seeking an unknown amount of compensatory and punitive damages with pre- and post-judgment interest for his claims of severe and permanently disabling injuries, including a fractured humerus and scalp and thigh lacerations.

The defendants had a duty to provide him with a safe place to work, according to the Record, thus negligently and intentionally exposing him to unsafe conditions, a violation of West Virginia code.

Lester is represented by J Kristofer Cormany and Pamela Lambert in Case 12-C-1919.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Carrie Webster.

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