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Sago Miners Lawsuit

Should the families of the dead Sago miners sue the government?

  • Yes

    Votes: 3 18.8%
  • No

    Votes: 11 68.8%
  • Don't Know yet

    Votes: 2 12.5%

  • Total voters
    16
H

hipsterdufus

Should the families of the dead Sago miners sue the government Fed and/or State for not forcing the Sago mining company to meet safety standards regulations?

Safety Violations Have Piled Up at Coal Mine

By Joby Warrick
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 4, 2006; Page A04

Time and again over the past four years, federal mining inspectors documented the same litany of problems at central West Virginia's Sago Mine: mine roofs that tended to collapse without warning. Faulty or inadequate tunnel supports. A dangerous buildup of flammable coal dust.

Yesterday, the mine's safety record came into sharp focus as officials searched for explanations for Monday's underground explosion. That record, as reflected in dozens of federal inspection reports, shows a succession of operators struggling to overcome serious, long-standing safety problems, some of which could be part of the investigation into the cause of the explosion that trapped 13 miners.

Explosion Traps West Virginia Coal Miners
A small town in Upshur County, W. Va. faces the ordeal of a mine explosion that delivered both life and death for trapped coal miners.

In the past two years, the mine was cited 273 times for safety violations, of which about a third were classified as "significant and substantial," according to documents compiled by the Labor Department's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). Many were for problems that could contribute to accidental explosions or the collapse of mine tunnels, records show.

In addition, 16 violations logged in the past eight months were listed as "unwarrantable failures," a designation reserved for serious safety infractions for which the operator had either already been warned, or which showed "indifference or extreme lack of care," said Tony Oppegard, a former MSHA senior adviser.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/03/AR2006010301433.html
 

Pacridge

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That seems to be everyone's solution to every problem in this country. Something bad happen to you? Sue somebody! I often keep the TV on during the day. Mainly for background noise. I think about 80% of all daytime ads are from lawyers offering to sue for you. Everything from cancer to slips and falls. One guy, out of somewhere in New England, has what he calls a "mobile law office." He's got a hold of some old shuttle bus and will come to you, so you can sue.
 

shuamort

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Pacridge said:
That seems to be everyone's solution to every problem in this country. Something bad happen to you? Sue somebody! I often keep the TV on during the day. Mainly for background noise. I think about 80% of all daytime ads are from lawyers offering to sue for you. Everything from cancer to slips and falls. One guy, out of somewhere in New England, has what he calls a "mobile law office." He's got a hold of some old shuttle bus and will come to you, so you can sue.
Sir,

I am a lawyer and what you have said has so deeply offended me that I will be filing a class action lawsuit posthaste against you, the board, your family, your god, and your cat.

Good day, Sir.

Signed,
Phinneaus P. Lacharse



I'd say all the liability lies on the mining company.
 

Pacridge

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shuamort said:
Sir,

I am a lawyer and what you have said has so deeply offended me that I will be filing a class action lawsuit posthaste against you, the board, your family, your god, and your cat.

Good day, Sir.

Signed,
Phinneaus P. Lacharse



I'd say all the liability lies on the mining company.
Sir,

I am in receipt of your correspondence. I will be referring this matter to my counsel. Please forward all future inquiries regarding this matter to the firm of Dewey, Cheatham and Hough. Please record them as my counsel as I am no longer associated with, nor represented by, Lowe, Ball & Lynch.

Good day,

Neal N. Bobb
 

Blind man

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WHile mining is dangerous that doesn't relieve them of liability if they fail to engineer a safe mine. It costs money to enginner a stable mine and if the mining company was negligent in providing adequate structural support because of cost, time issues etc, then they should realize that trying to saze money by not designing safe facilities has expensive consequences.
 

Kandahar

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hipsterdufus said:
Should the families of the dead Sago miners sue the government Fed and/or State for not forcing the Sago mining company to meet safety standards regulations?
It's the mining company's responsibility to meet the safety regulations that the government sets. So no, they shouldn't sue the government.
 

earthworm

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Time and time again, only brute force is effective in accomplishing anything.
How many outstanding violations until the government does anything ?
One hundred ?
One thousand ?
The mining company, as ever , toys with human life, and this has been going on for a long, long time....
The federal government and the state government must be sued for their failure to act in a responsible manner.
The miners should take over the mining company and force the "management" to do the dirty, dangerous work.

Power to the people...
 

Kandahar

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earthworm said:
Time and time again, only brute force is effective in accomplishing anything.
How many outstanding violations until the government does anything ?
One hundred ?
One thousand ?
The mining company, as ever , toys with human life, and this has been going on for a long, long time....
The federal government and the state government must be sued for their failure to act in a responsible manner.
The miners should take over the mining company and force the "management" to do the dirty, dangerous work.

Power to the people...
The government is not a corporate babysitter, and can't possibly be everywhere at once. Unless you can show that government officials were willfully allowing the mining company to operate below the safety standards, or were grossly negligent (by government standards) in dealing with it, then it's ridiculous to sue them. The nanny-state implications of this would be staggering. You don't sue the government for allowing harmful products to be manufactured, do you? No, the liability falls on the company that made the product. The same thing applies in this case. If anyone should be sued it's the mining company. Don't blame the government every time a business ****s up.
 

shuamort

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earthworm said:
Time and time again, only brute force is effective in accomplishing anything.
How many outstanding violations until the government does anything ?
One hundred ?
One thousand ?
The mining company, as ever , toys with human life, and this has been going on for a long, long time....
The federal government and the state government must be sued for their failure to act in a responsible manner.
The miners should take over the mining company and force the "management" to do the dirty, dangerous work.

Power to the people...
Power to the people? And who, praytell, do you think is going to have to pay the bill if the lawsuit shows the miners' families to be the victors? Could it be the "people"? The taxpayers?
 

Deegan

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The government is the reason that so many lives have been saved in coal mines in recent years. To suggest we now sue them for raising the standards in these places, this is beyond ridiculous, it's just simply hateful, and unreasonable. If you don't like this government, or this country, go find one that makes you happy, good luck with that.....really.......good luck.:roll:
 

cnredd

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My neighbor forgets his meds that his doctor gave him through an insurance plan the government pays for because he works for the city and runs through my front door and shoots me...

Should I sue the cops?...They are supposed to protect me, ya know...:roll:
 

earthworm

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Corporations have displayed over the years that they will try to get away with everything that they can; hence the unions and a ton of government regulations and regulators.

This should be accepted as true..

When a mine is found to be unsafe due to all these obvious defects, I would like to know why it was not shut down. There are mine inspectors; they have a job to do; did they do it ???

Does not human life matter ?

I know that in the olden days, a man's life did not matter !
That was then, this is now; I suspect the Republicans want a return to the "olden days"...
So, yes ! Sue the SOBs, this is the language they understand ! Sue until they learn that a man's life is not to be trifled with...
I feel strongly about this, but just think if I were one of the victims !!!
 

libertarian_knight

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Pacridge said:
That seems to be everyone's solution to every problem in this country. Something bad happen to you? Sue somebody! I often keep the TV on during the day. Mainly for background noise. I think about 80% of all daytime ads are from lawyers offering to sue for you. Everything from cancer to slips and falls. One guy, out of somewhere in New England, has what he calls a "mobile law office." He's got a hold of some old shuttle bus and will come to you, so you can sue.
ok, let's not sue them, but the inspectors and officials that are responsible should be tried for negligent homocide along with the owners and managers of the mine.
 
H

hipsterdufus

cnredd said:
My neighbor forgets his meds that his doctor gave him through an insurance plan the government pays for because he works for the city and runs through my front door and shoots me...

Should I sue the cops?...They are supposed to protect me, ya know...:roll:
Why would you sue the cops? You can't possibly expect them to be at all places at all times. :roll:

Would I sue the cops if they beat the **** somenone of for Driving While Black? You bet your ass.
 

Pacridge

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hipsterdufus said:
Why would you sue the cops? You can't possibly expect them to be at all places at all times. :roll:

Would I sue the cops if they beat the **** somenone of for Driving While Black? You bet your ass.

Do you sue the cop or sue the cops? Big difference.
 

Deegan

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What has all of this to do with coal mining?:confused:

You folks need to research coal mining in our country, as the federal government has made a world of difference in the conditions in mining today. Before they entered this arena, deaths in mines were common place, something like one in ten would die on the job. Today, 97 per 100,000 die each year, they have made this job as safe as it possibly can be. Ask any miner, he knows that mother earth will always have the last say, and that these dangerous gases, they can never be totally eliminated, and never will be. It's a dangerous job, and all of those who apply, they know this before deciding on this career. I feel sorry for those men, but I certainly don't feel that a lawsuit is necessary, or warranted.

As I read the story, none of the citations were serious, and there is no reason to have shut down the mine. We get 50% of our energy from the coal these men mine, we start filing frivilous law suits, and we only make OPEC happy, fat, and even more wealthy. Use your head people, sheesh.:roll:
 

libertarian_knight

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Deegan said:
What has all of this to do with coal mining?:confused:

You folks need to research coal mining in our country, as the federal government has made a world of difference in the conditions in mining today. Before they entered this arena, deaths in mines were common place, something like one in ten would die on the job. Today, 97 per 100,000 die each year, they have made this job as safe as it possibly can be. Ask any miner, he knows that mother earth will always have the last say, and that these dangerous gases, they can never be totally eliminated, and never will be. It's a dangerous job, and all of those who apply, they know this before deciding on this career. I feel sorry for those men, but I certainly don't feel that a lawsuit is necessary, or warranted.

As I read the story, none of the citations were serious, and there is no reason to have shut down the mine. We get 50% of our energy from the coal these men mine, we start filing frivilous law suits, and we only make OPEC happy, fat, and even more wealthy. Use your head people, sheesh.:roll:

It's not a question of inherent danger, it's a question that the very regulations and agencies the federal government established to make mining safer, have not been enforced by the employer not federal agents. 18 violations in 8 months a post pointed out.
 

Deegan

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libertarian_knight said:
It's not a question of inherent danger, it's a question that the very regulations and agencies the federal government established to make mining safer, have not been enforced by the employer not federal agents. 18 violations in 8 months a post pointed out.
If the owners refused to address violations, by all means, sue them, but this was about the government, and they deserve praise for their efforts.
 

shuamort

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libertarian_knight said:
18 violations in 8 months a post pointed out.
That's an interesting statistic. The litmus test would be to see how it compares to other mines. Get those statistics to compare against and we can actually understand what they mean.
 

libertarian_knight

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Deegan said:
If the owners refused to address violations, by all means, sue them, but this was about the government, and they deserve praise for their efforts.
yeah, and I included the federal agents and officials who did not properly enforce the law. Willingly and willfully allowed these violation to continue unchecked.
 

earthworm

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One must agree with Deegan.
It depends on the severity of the defects.

I was an inspector once and have seen and practiced in "chicken-fecal matter" (CFM).. OSHA inspectors are notorious for this - the basis of many jokes and legitimate complaints..

But try defining this CFM, it is nigh impossible, in every case...

The defects at the mine should have been repaired, but does our government have the power to do this ??

I would love to hear from a miner on this forum....
 
H

hipsterdufus

Deegan said:
As I read the story, none of the citations were serious, and there is no reason to have shut down the mine. We get 50% of our energy from the coal these men mine, we start filing frivilous law suits, and we only make OPEC happy, fat, and even more wealthy. Use your head people, sheesh.:roll:
My Grandfather worked in the Coal Mines until black lung disease forced him to retire, so this is an issue that I am pretty passionate about. 1,500-2,000 coal miners still die from black lung disease every year. I don't think a lawsuit would be frivilous at all if you look at the facts.

The only person I see in the media who is looking into this is Amy Goodman.
I see it as a huge story of the elimination of Federal Regulations that lead to needless deaths and injuries. It's the same thinking that has added more mercury in our streams and fish, and let more arsenic in our water. But it is very rare for anyone in the Corporate Media to cover these stories.

Here are some exceprts from Amy Goodman's Democracy Now!

Critics contend that the Bush administration is beholden to the mining industry and has gutted safety and health regulations in the mines. They point to figures from the Center for Responsive Politics which show that over the last 6 years, coal companies gave $9 million to mostly republican federal candidates. Critics also point out that Bush cut funding for mine safety enforcement by $15 million and stacked the Mine Safety and Health Administration with representatives of corporate interests.

In 2002, Bush named former Massey Energy official Stanley Suboleski to the MSHA review commission that decides all legal matters under the Federal Mine Act. Massey Energy is one of the largest coal companies in the U.S and has been cited for numerous violations. And David Lauriski, the former head of MSHA, spent 30 years as an executive in the mining industry before being tapped to head the agency. He resigned last year to work for a mine-industry consulting company. The current head of MSHA, Richard Stickler, was appointed by Bush last September. Stickler is a former manager of Beth Energy mines. The Bush administration has also cut 170 positions from MSHA.

Jack Spadaro, mining engineer who has devoted his life to the safety of miners. He was head of the National Mine Health and Safety Academy (MSHA), a branch of the Department of Labor, which trains mining inspectors. He's been working in federal regulatory agencies for almost 30 years. He was threatened with losing his job at MSHA after blowing the whistle on what he called a whitewash by the Bush administration of an investigation into a major coal slurry spill in 2000.

/snip

AMY GOODMAN: Can you start off by talking about how you almost lost your job, the enormity of the disaster at the time, and respond to what we're seeing today, the disaster at the Sago Mine?

JACK SPADARO: Well, fortunately the disaster in 2000 -- the Martin County coal slurry spill, did not result in a loss of life as that which has happened in Upshur County, West Virginia. But the disaster in October 2000 was a spill of 300 million gallons of coal slurry into 100 miles of streams in Kentucky and West Virginia, and it killed all life forms for 100 miles downstream from the coal waste [inaudible]. And the failure occurred in the bottom of a reservoir where the flurry entered abandoned underground mine working by Massey Energy, who owned the impoundment, and then flowed into two streams that drained into the Tug Fork River. There were about – well, there were hundreds of people who were affected directly, who had slurry in their yards, against their houses, and there were thousands of people who lost their water supplies downstream. I think all together 17 communities and about 27,000 people were affected.

And there had been a previous spill in May of 1994. The company knew that there were underground mine workings beneath this reservoir because of that previous spill, and because they had actually created those underground mine workings, as well. They knew that there was a chance that something like this would happen again. But the Mine Safety and Health Administration allowed them to continue operating the impoundment. And, indeed, six years later this disaster occurred.

During the investigation, while the Clinton administration was still running the Mine Safety and Health Administration, we were allowed to do in our investigation whatever it took to get to the facts. And that lasted until January of 2001; when the Bush administration came in, we were told to stop our investigation, essentially to wrap it up. And we were nowhere near finished. And then, as we were writing the investigative report, we were continually interfered with by Dave Lauriski, the new appointee to run the Mine Safety and Health Administration, to weaken the report.

And finally, I refused. I actually resigned from the investigative team and refused to sign the final report. And I went public with my concerns, because they were trying to cover up Massey Energy's responsibility and the agency's responsibility, as well.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, [Jack] Spadaro, back in 2004 in a 60 Minutes interview, you were quoted as saying, “I've never seen anything so corrupt and lawless in my entire career as what I saw regarding interference with a federal investigation of that disaster.” Could you talk a little bit about what has happened with mine health and safety regulation in monitoring at the federal government level under the administration, the current administration?

JACK SPADARO:
It's the top officials in the agency who have, over the past five years, interfered with the field operations and tried to prevent inspectors from doing their jobs. Lauriski instituted a program called “compliance assistance,” where he encouraged the inspectors to, instead of writing violations, to try to convince the operators to comply with the law. But the law is mandatory. If an inspector finds a violation, the inspector is supposed to write a citation and make sure that it gets corrected. That's one of the reasons the agency was effective up until 2001 and had reduced over the 30-year period the numbers of fatalities and serious injuries at mines.

I think that may be what happened here at this mine. Although the inspectors were obviously doing their jobs of writing the citations and putting pressure on the company, they weren't allowed to close the mine, which is what should have been done at Sago.

JUAN GONZALEZ: What about this whole -- the fines under federal law, these ridiculously low fines for such major violations? Have any attempts been made over the years to increase the penalties, because these are basically nuisance fines for companies that are making millions of dollars in profits off these mining operations?

JACK SPADARO: It's an outrage that these fines are so low. And I don't know of any serious attempt to raise those assessments. That should have been done a long time ago. I don't know of any administration that's trying to raise the assessments for penalties at mine sites.

/snip

For example, since 1996 in West Virginia, coal interests have contributed more than $4 million to candidates that ran for governor, Supreme Court and the legislature. And over the past five election cycles, the industry contributed over $2 million to gubernatorial campaigns and inaugurals, and $1.5 million to legislative races, and about just over $500,000 to Supreme Court candidates. And that's just on the state level.
/snip

JUAN GONZALEZ: We still have on the line also Ken Ward, investigative reporter for the Charleston Gazette.

KEN WARD: /snip

But the other thing that – and I think that that's very important for people to understand, because the issue really with the coal industry, with all of these things, is a matter of an industry that clearly for a century or more has done a very efficient job of externalizing its true costs of doing business. You know, we ran a story in the Gazette this morning about the long list of tragedies in West Virginia. Sago now is joining a long of names: Farmington, Loveridge, Hominy Falls, Eccles, Glen Rogers, Monongah. You can go on and on and on and on. And my friends in the environmental community --

AMY GOODMAN: And when you say you can go on and on and on, I bet most of what you just said, no one has ever heard of before.

KEN WARD: Most of the people at Hominy Falls died.

/snip And aside from the threat -- the constant threat of these terrible sorts of tragedies -- between 1,500 and 2,000 coal miners still die every year from black lung disease. An untold number of people are maimed in the mines. They lose a hand. They get hit in the head by a piece of rock and are brain damaged. It's terrible things that go on in these mines all of the time.

This is really an industry that, as I said, has been incredibly efficient in externalizing its cost of doing business. And it's important for especially the folks that listen to your program to understand that, though they may be seeing -- think they're seeing increases in their energy costs, the families of the 12 miners who died at the Sago Mine, those deaths are, in part, borne by everyone who wants low electricity costs. And people need to understand that we all are partly responsible for those deaths. And we should all mourn that.
http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=06/01/05/1455200&mode=thread&tid=25
 

Deegan

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hipsterdufus said:
My Grandfather worked in the Coal Mines until black lung disease forced him to retire, so this is an issue that I am pretty passionate about. 1,500-2,000 coal miners still die from black lung disease every year. I don't think a lawsuit would be frivilous at all if you look at the facts.

The only person I see in the media who is looking into this is Amy Goodman.
I see it as a huge story of the elimination of Federal Regulations that lead to needless deaths and injuries. It's the same thinking that has added more mercury in our streams and fish, and let more arsenic in our water. But it is very rare for anyone in the Corporate Media to cover these stories.

Here are some exceprts from Amy Goodman's Democracy Now!



http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=06/01/05/1455200&mode=thread&tid=25

And they all know the dangers before taking this 80,000 dollar a year job. They get the best healthcare, and there is really nothing that can be done to protect them anymore they they already are. I agree there are violations, and some should be sued if they refuse to act on those violations, but you suggested a lawsuit against the government. Why would you suggest such a thing, because the Bush admin. is lax on the coal mining companies, this is where you and Amy are going, I'm sure of it. You fail to realize the increased demand for energy, and that if affordable energy is not realized, many more will die in their homes due to lack of heat.
 
T

The Real McCoy

Should the government be sued? In other words, should the taxpayers be sued? No. The company should compensate the families of the victims and the lone survivor.
 
H

hipsterdufus

Deegan said:
And they all know the dangers before taking this 80,000 dollar a year job. They get the best healthcare, and there is really nothing that can be done to protect them anymore they they already are. I agree there are violations, and some should be sued if they refuse to act on those violations, but you suggested a lawsuit against the government. Why would you suggest such a thing, because the Bush admin. is lax on the coal mining companies, this is where you and Amy are going, I'm sure of it. You fail to realize the increased demand for energy, and that if affordable energy is not realized, many more will die in their homes due to lack of heat.
First, people are going to die because the Republicans cut LIHEAP assistance in their Budget Reconcilaition Bill!

Second - The overarching theme is that Government oversight is being thrown out the window during the Bush administration. It's the philosophy to get out of the way, and let the corporations run unchecked. And this is the kind of tragedy we end up with. Don't worry, no one in the corporate media will cover it and nothing will happen, until the next tragedy...
 
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