Coal Tattoo

Both sides look toward trial in Rawl water cases

Russell Prince holds photographs on Monday Nov. 15, 2010 in Charleston, W.Va., of his 4-year-old daughter, Chasety, who died in 1996 of a kidney tumor he believes was caused by well water contaminated with coal slurry. More than 700 current and former residents of Rawl, Lick Creek, Sprigg and Merrimac claim their water was contaminated and their health wrecked after Rawl Sales & Processing pumped 1.4 billion gallons of toxic coal slurry into worked-out underground mines. (AP Photo/Vicki Smith)

The Gazette’s Dr. Paul Nyden has more today on the Rawl Sales & Processing water pollution lawsuits, which now appear headed for trial next year after mediation efforts failed to produce a settlement.

As Paul reports here:

Mediation efforts seeking to settle more than 350 lawsuits filed on behalf of 769 people from Mingo County against Massey Energy Co. broke down at about 7 p.m. on Tuesday evening.

The state Supreme Court’s Mass Litigation Panel hoped to settle the suits, which allege coal slurry run-offs from a Massey mining complex poisoned their groundwater and hundreds of wells near the town of Rawl, leading to serious health problems.

The failure of mediation efforts means the cases will begin going to trial on Aug. 1 at the Ohio County Circuit Court in Wheeling.