Lawyer to Represent Coal Mine Disaster Families



Law Firm to Represent Coal Mine Disaster Families

Posted: 8:54 PM Apr 18, 2010

Reporter: Brooks Jarosz

11pm Story

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) — With tragedy comes an outpouring of support.

Underwood Law Firm wasted no time putting ads in local newspapers a week after the deadly blast killed 29 miners at Massey’s Upper Big Branch Mine in Raleigh County.

Attorney Mark Underwood says he stands by his decision; especially because he says benefit packages are often difficult to understand.

“I think it was perfect timing in light of the fact that Massey came out with a benefits package the very next day,” Underwood said.

Underwood said his grandfather was killed in an industrial accident years ago. His family understands what happens following the funeral with emotions running high, and the daunting task of legal paperwork.

“The family members that would be considering those benefit packages need to seek some sort of legal counsel whether it’s our firm, another firm, a friend or a neighbor that’s a lawyer,” Underwood said. “They need to go and sit down and talk to a lawyer before they agree to anything with Massey.”

Gallagher is President and CEO of Charles-Ryan and Associates, a public relations firm.

“I would have counseled a client to wait because you have to balance it out with treading on the grief of families versus of course wanting to make sure they have proper representation,” Gallagher said.

Mark Underwood says he wouldn’t change the steps he took on the legal front.

“The first step is the investigation and the second step is sharing that investigation in an effort to answer the questions that these family members have,” he said.

Those questions will someday be answered but never bring their loved ones back.

A Massey spokesperson says they’re still working with the families involved in the disaster. The company did not want to comment on any claims alleged by area lawyers.

Massey Energy has been running its own ad reading “always in our hearts, in our memories and our prayers.”


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