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  Page 1 of Dennis Prince's 155-page deposition.

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BUFFALO CREEK LEGAL SUITES

Dennis Prince et al. vs The Pittston Company

Dennis Prince lost his wife, Margie, who was swept out of his hands by the raging waters. Nine days later her body was recovered at Amherstdale, five miles downstream. Prince became the lead plaintiff in a class action suit against the Pittston Company, which was Buffalo Creek Mining Company's parent corporation. Ultimately 625 adults joined the suit. Pittston sought to have the case dismissed, but U.S. District Court Jude K. K. Hall allowed it to go forward. Finally Pittston sought to settle the suit for $3,000,000. The plaintiffs' lawyer, Gerald Stern, held out for half of the company's 1972 profits--$27,000,000. In June 1972 Pittston settled for $13,500,000.

In October 1981 over 500 deposition[Adobe .PDF document], given as a part of this case, both for the plaintiffs and defendants, were deposited in Marshall University's Special Collections department.

Justice vs The Pittston Company

A second class action suit for 348 children, who were not part of the Prince suit, was also filed against the Pittston Company by Cross Lanes, West Virginia, lawyer, Phillip Gaujot. The children's suit asked for $225,000,000. Pittston vowed to vigorously challenge the suit, which was before U.S. District Judge John Copenhaver, Jr. In June 1974 Pittston also settled this case for $4,800,000. Interestingly, Copenhaver ruled that five children, who were in utero at the time of the disaster, also deserved part of the settlement, because medical evidence indicated that psychological trauma could affect unborn children.

In January 1982 over 700 dispositions [Adobe .PDF document] connected with this suit were also deposited in the Special Collections department at Marshall University.

The State of West Virginia vs The Pittston Company

The state West Virginia sued for $100,000,000 for disaster relief and punitive damages, but Governor Arch Moore settled for $1,000,000 just three days before leaving office in 1977.


© Marshall University, 2002. All rights reserved.
Last updated, October 29, 2002.
Created and Maintained by Lisle Brown, Special Collections, Morrow Library, Marshall University.