Fraud in a coal mine

When is $3 million not enough? When it’s fraud. Families of miners killed in an explosion in West Virginia in 2010 filed a lawsuit against the mining company, claiming they were fraudulently coerced into accepting wrongful-death settlements. The suit claims that Massey Energy deliberately withheld information pertinent to making settlement decisions.

In April 2010 29 miners died in a mining explosion. It was later discovered that Massey was guilty of a number of safety violations and thus responsible for the explosion. In fact, the company had a history of safety violations and problems. Soon after the tragedy, however, Massey officials visited the families of the dead miners, offering them $3 million settlements in addition to other benefits, including health coverage and college funding. Officials claimed they wanted to help the families and that lawsuits would only drain funds that could go directly to them.

The families now feel duped and hope to achieve class-action status in their suit against the mining company and its officials. For more on this story, see this article.