Updated: Middlesboro flood victims file lawsuit against coal companies

By: Kendall Downing Email
By: Kendall Downing Email

As we first told you last week, more than 40 flood victims in Bell County have now filed a lawsuit against a number of coal companies. Victims want those companies held responsible for the summer flood.

The images are hard to forget. For those on Blakeman Drive, there was a lot of work that had to be done.

"The house just kind of fell. We had to get all new supports," said Wayne Allen, of Middlesboro.

Issues still remain from the summer flood.

"Some water problems in the yard," said Allen.

Allen is one of more than 40 people named as plaintiffs in a lawsuit. The community members are suing a number of coal companies who they believe were negligent.

Appolo Fuels Inc, of Middlesboro, Bell County Coal Corp. of Richmond, VA, Strata Mining, of Middlesboro, Twin Star Coal Company, of Cranks, C & L Highwall Mining Partnership, of Middlesboro, LC & C Energy Inc., of Middlesboro, T & T Energy Inc., of London, Stoney Fork Mining Inc., of Middlesboro, and Tackett Creek Mining Inc., of Pathfork - are all being sued.

"We take a position that if you're cited for failure to reclaim - you should know you're endangering the people below you," said Ned Pillersdorf, attorney for the plaintiffs.

Attorneys said some of those companies had been cited multiple times for not protecting the Yellow Creek, Stoney Fork, and Stevenson Creek watersheds. They believe the flooding could have been prevented.

"It was like a tsunami coming in from the back," said Allen.

"What these folks tell us is that it was a 45 minute flood event, which is indicative of failure to reclaim instead of heavy rain over a period of days," said Pillersdorf.

Allen said he and his wife are glad to be celebrating the holidays back in their home, but they still get worried every time it rains.

Mountain News tried contacting all the companies named, but we were unable to get in touch with all of them. The ones we did get in touch with had no comment.

You can find a link to the suit in the box below marked "Related Links."


More than 40 flood victims in Middlesboro have filed a lawsuit against a number of coal companies, alleging their negligence contributed to destructive flooding this summer.

The victims claim reckless mining operations by those companies caused ecological damage to the Yellow Fork Creek, Stevenson Creek, and Stony Fork Creek watersheds - and led to the catastrophic flooding.

They are asking the court to step in and issue an emergency order to stop any other mining activities and grant payment for damages.

A similar lawsuit was recently filed in Knox County.

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