The workers are demanding $75,000 for themselves and any other “similarly situated” employee who lost income when the mine was later shut down. They also want unspecified compensatory and punitive damages. The lawsuit is the latest stemming from a continuing federal investigation into problems at the mine near Fairview, W.Va.
During January, ex-foreman John Renner sued Patriot. He has admitted to faking safety inspection reports but says his supervisors ordered him to do it. Renner has been awaiting sentencing on federal charges for nearly two years and is cooperating in the investigation. Renner is among the individuals targeted in the new lawsuit. The lawsuit says the managers’ behavior not only endangered miners but also led to an extended idling of the mine, which caused economic hardship for the employees. The lawyers have fashioned a class-action case, arguing the number of affected people is in the hundreds.