Massey Energy Co. has settled a wrongful death lawsuit involving the asphyxiation of two men in a West Virginia mine fire. The matter is also under federal criminal investigation. The settlement came during a trial that began on November 10th. The terms of the settlement weren’t disclosed. The two miners died after the fire broke out in January of 2006, in Massey’s Aracoma Coal mine near Stollings, West Virginia. The men’s widows sued the company, Chief Executive Officer Don Blankenship, and the company’s A.T. Massey and Aracoma Coal subsidiaries, claiming they pushed production at the expense of worker safety.
There was a $1.5 million fine against Massey last year by federal regulators citing 25 violations that contributed to the deaths. The company claimed there were conditions that didn’t meet its standards. The settlement came five days after eight current and former Massey supervisors at the mine declined to testify, citing their constitutional right against self-incrimination. The settlement ends claims against all Defendants, pending court approval. A federal grand jury is investigating the incident for possible criminal charges. Aracoma is a unit of Elk Run Coal, which in turn is a subsidiary of A.T. Massey. A.T. Massey is a unit of Massey Energy.
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