Fitzsimmons Law Firm obtained a $5.1 Million settlement for the family
of a coal miner who was killed in a coal mining accident. The coal miner
was killed as a result of fatal injuries he sustained in an underground
coal mining accident when a base lift jack catastrophically failed causing
the cap to strike him in the chest. As a result of the accident, the family
filed a wrongful death lawsuit in the Court of Common Pleas of Belmont
In the underlying lawsuit, the plaintiff alleged that her husband was killed
as a result of the defendants' defective design and manufacture of
the base lift jack and longwall shield together with their failure to
provide reasonable warnings and/or instructions. Specifically, the plaintiff
alleged that the manufacturer placed into the stream of commerce a base
lift jack that was defective in manufacture and construction. The plaintiff
alleged that the base lift jack was defective in that (1) the end cap
weld had a crack-susceptible microstructure due to lack of proper preheat
and (2) there was a lack of weld material fusion to the cylinder wall
with a corresponding reduced strength weld joint. According to the plaintiff,
the defective weld resulted from the manufacturer's failure to comply
with generally accepted welding practices and its own manufacturing/design
specifications in that there was lack of appropriate preheating and lack
of sufficient fusion and penetration in the cap weld. Additionally, the
plaintiff further asserted that the manufacturer failed to conduct a proper
weld inspection and/or ultrasonic test on the subject base lift jack as
required by its own policies and procedures. Had ultrasonic testing been
properly performed, the plaintiff alleged that testing would have identified
the defects in the weld. The plaintiff asserted causes of action against
the manufacturer under the Ohio Product Liability Act and specifically
Ohio Rev. Code § 2307.74 (defect in manufacture or construction),
§ 2307.75 (defective design or formulation), § 2307.76 (inadequate
warning and/or instruction), and § 2307.77 (nonconformance with manufacturer's
The plaintiff also asserted claims against a defendant who had refurbished
the base lift jack approximately two months prior to the incident. According
to the plaintiff, the defendant negligently maintained and repaired the
base lift jack by installing a replacement rod that was too long. This
caused an increase in the overall collapsed length of the jack as compared
to the OEM cylinder. As a result, the plaintiff alleged that the negligent
repairs and new cylinder rod allowed for impingement of the rod on the
end of the cylinder in more situations than with the original design thereby
contributing to the failure.
The plaintiff also brought a cause of action against the coal operator
for a workplace intentional tort pursuant to Ohio Rev. Code § 2745.01.
According to the plaintiff, the coal operator knowingly failed to comply
with applicable MSHA and Ohio mining laws and regulations, including 30
C.F.R. 75.1725(a) (operation and maintenance of machinery and equipment).
The plaintiff filed the underlying wrongful death lawsuit pursuant to Ohio
Revised Code §§ 2125.01,
et seq., as the personal representative of the Estate of her deceased husband.
In her Complaint, the plaintiff sought damages for the loss of support
from the reasonably expected earning capacity of the plaintiff's decedent;
loss of services of the plaintiff's decedent; loss of the society
of the plaintiff's decedent, including loss of companionship, consortium,
care, assistance, attention, protection, advice, guidance, counsel, instruction,
training, and education; loss of prospective inheritance; and mental anguish.
The plaintiff also sought damages for pre-death pain and suffering incurred
by her decedent prior to his wrongful death.
As part of the settlement, the employer waived its right to seek subrogation
for the amount of workers' compensation benefits paid.
Fitzsimmons Law Firm is a plaintiff's litigation firm headquartered
in Wheeling, West Virginia. The Firm has successfully represented workers
injured or killed on the job in a wide variety of cases, including coal
mining accidents, oil and gas drilling accidents, workplace explosions,
construction accidents, fall accidents, workplace toxic and chemical exposure,
and other work related injuries. The Firm has obtained over $800 Million
in verdicts and settlements for its clients, including more than 150 cases
in excess of $1 Million.
Verdicts and Settlements are listed on this website for informational purposes
only. Future verdicts or settlements cannot necessarily be predicted from
prior results. Fitzsimmons Law Firm PLLC makes no guarantee that the same
results could be obtained for other clients in similar matters. Each case
depends on its own unique facts, strengths and weaknesses, severity of
damages/injuries, credibility of witnesses, availability of insurance
coverage, and many other facts that can affect a claim's verdict and/or
settlement amount. Because of this, you cannot assume that the same result
would occur for you in your state under the particular facts of your case.