Patton Boggs Insights - December 2012: Litigation/Courts: Kentucky Mine Operator, Supervisors Plead Guilty

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A Kentucky coal mine operator and two of its supervisors have pled guilty to willful safety violations in the wake of a miner’s death. On November 7, Manalapan Mining Co., Inc. entered a plea in U.S. District Court on a charge that it directed miners to use equipment that lacked canopies or cabs to protect them from roof or rib collapses. The operator could be fined as much as $250,000. A superintendent at the P-1 Mine and the mine’s operations manager plead guilty to a similar misdemeanor charge and face up to a year in prison. The superintendent also pled guilty to signing off on safety inspection reports that failed to document hazardous conditions, a felony punishable by up to five years in prison. Sentencing is set for March. Previously, a foreman at the mine pled guilty to failing to identify or correct hazardous conditions and will be sentenced in January. The charges stem from the death of a miner in June 2011 in a rib collapse. The operator also faces $594,100 in MSHA fines.