W.Va. mine blast survivor cases linger with Alpha

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) - Nine survivors of West Virginia's Upper Big Branch mine disaster want to abandon mediation of their personal injury claims and start gathering evidence for trial.

They say in a court filing that Virginia-based Alpha Natural Resources hasn't been negotiating in good faith and that one reason Alpha is sealing the former Massey Energy mine where 29 men died is to prevent evidence collection.

Alpha declined comment on the mediation. Spokesman Ted Pile says Alpha hopes to settle outstanding claims so everyone can move forward.

The plaintiffs say they suffered debilitating physical and psychological injuries in the April 2010 blast, including traumatic brain injuries.

Alpha has already settled 29 wrongful death cases and at least seven injury cases.

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