Lawsuit filed against Justice mines

Nola Sizemore Staff Writer

December 6, 2013

Three mining companies, located in Harlan County, and controlled by the Jim Justice family have been named in a lawsuit recently filed in U.S. District Court in London by 62 former employees of those companies.

Employees at Sequoia Energy, Southern Coal Kentucky Corporation and Liggett Mining LLC are claiming relief through the court system under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act. The WARN Act was enacted in 1988 and became effective in 1989.

The purpose of the act is to protect workers, their families and communities by providing advanced notice so that workers who will be terminated may seek other jobs or retraining, and by providing them with statutory pay for a certain period of time.

The plaintiffs in this lawsuit claim on or about May 15, they were terminated from their jobs without any written notice as provided by the WARN Act and without notice the mines were being closed, leaving them without jobs.

The WARN Act requires employees be given 60 days notice before a closing of an employment site which affects 50 or more employees during any 30 day period. Each of the mines in the lawsuit, at the time of their closures, did employ more than 100 employees.

The plaintiffs are seeking all relief provided to them by the WARN Act including 60 business days of back pay, lost benefits, out-of-pocket expenses incurred for benefits and other compensatory damages, punitive damages, attorneys’ fees and all other relief the court deems proper.

The lawsuit was filed on Nov. 14. No answer to the complaint had been filed in U.S. District Court as of Thursday afternoon.

An amended complaint was filed on Thursday, adding new plaintiffs to the case.

No court date has been set.

Representing the plaintiffs in this case is Attorney Cheryl U. Lewis, of Hyden.

Reach Nola Sizemore at 606-573-4510, ext. 115, nsizemore@civitasmedia.com