Final UBB death lawsuits settled

UPPER Big Branch mine owner Alpha Natural Resources has reportedly settled the last of the wrongful death lawsuits filed by the families of all 29 miners killed in the April 2010 explosion in West Virginia.
Final UBB death lawsuits settled Final UBB death lawsuits settled Final UBB death lawsuits settled Final UBB death lawsuits settled Final UBB death lawsuits settled

The Upper Big Branch mine

Donna Schmidt

Attorney Mark Moreland told the Associated Press the company settled with the estates of two miners, Ronald Lee Maynor and William Griffith, on Tuesday afternoon following a long mediation session.

The terms of the two deals were not disclosed.

Some miner estate suits have long been settled, with mediation for the final 13 victims commencing last week.

Moreland said Alpha also settled lawsuits with at least seven miners injured in the blast.

The Maynor and Griffith decisions still require court approval.

“It’s some compensation for a loss that can never be fully compensated,” Moreland told the news service.

“At this point, we await the action of the US attorney.

“I think some people behind bars might bring complete closure to the matter.”

Alpha acquired Massey Energy, the owner of the mine at the time of the blast, in a landmark takeover that closed last June.

With it the producer inherited the lawsuits filed by victims’ families after the blast that occurred April 5, 2010.

While Alpha did not release public comment on the final settlements on Wednesday, a company spokesman last month told the AP it was eager to close the books on the legacy issues and move ahead.

The Virginia-based company reached a settlement in December with the US Department of Justice that, at $US210 million, also kept it from being a target of criminal prosecution as a corporation.

Individuals can still be prosecuted under the deal.

Alpha’s settlement included $46.5 million for restitution to the victims' families, which the AP said would be deducted from the wrongful death settlements.