Suit by 16 landowners moves to federal court
by Debbie Rolen
LOGAN – Sixteen landowners have filed suit against Appalachian Fuels, LLC and John Doe Entities 1-5 claiming their mining activities caused damage to their property.
The landowners (Plaintiffs) who own land in Chauncey, Logan County are: Geneva, Matthew and Jennifer Adkins; Cherry Blevins; Leo and Tammy Copeland; Clarkson and Teresa Browning; Elizabeth Callaway; Virginia Ellixson; James and Patricia Fleming; Robert and Barbara Greer; Robert Greer Jr. and Rema Greer; William Jenkins; James Lowe and Alisa Shepard; Gregory and Willa Mullins; Marlene Nelson; Mabel Porter; Larry and Thelma Spry; and Oleda Workman.
According to the complaint, the Appalachian Fuels, LLC (Defendant) was responsible for operations that took place above and upstream of the plaintiffs’ residences in Chauncey.
The Defendant is currently a Chapter 11 Debtor in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Eastern Division of Kentucky, Ashland Division, under case number 09-10343.
The Automatic Stay pursuant to Title 11 was lifted by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Joseph M. Scott Jr., to allow the Plaintiffs to proceed with their claims, including filing of the present civil action. Filing under the limited lifting of the Automatic Stay, the Plaintiffs acknowledge and seek only under and up to the proceeds of any applicable insurance coverage, including, but not limited to, any liability insurance and umbrella general liability coverage.
The complaint alleges the Defendant failed to conduct mining operations in compliance with applicable laws, regulations and industry standards. It states failures to conduct operations in a reasonable and prudent manner, with due regard to the interests of adjoining and affected neighbors, such as the Plaintiffs. Said failures are said to have been responsible for flooding that caused severe damage to property, personal property, residences and other general and special damages.
The filing was originally filed in the Circuit Court of Logan County, but was recently moved by the defendant Appalachian Fuels, LLC, to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.
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