4 West mine

Mike Jones/Observer-Reporter

The entrance to Dana Mining’s 4 Mine West near Mt. Morris

The wife of a West Virginia coal miner who died two years ago when a set of heavy metal airlock doors fell on him in the Dana Mining Co.’s 4 West Mine near Mt. Morris has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the company and its affiliates.

The suit, filed in March in Allegheny County Court by Paula Kelly, administrator of the estate of her husband, John W. Kelly, was transferred last week to Greene County Court.

John Kelly, 55, of Albright, W.Va., a scoop car operator at the mine, died June 28, 2015, when a heavy, metal airlock door and its frame used to control mine ventilation underground, fell on him.

Kelly was moving supplies underground and had opened two sets of metal airlock doors to pass to another area of the mine. After passing through the doors, he was attempting to close one set when the door fell on him, pinning him to the mine floor.

In its report on the fatality, the U.S. Mine, Safety and Health Administration said the door, which the suit claims weighed 400 to 500 pounds, had not been installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations.

The suit names as defendants, Dana Mining of Pennsylvania LLC, Mepco Inc. and numerous other affiliates, as well as the manufacturer of the door, Jack Kennedy Metal Products.

The suit alleged the mining company failed to properly install, maintain and inspect the door and train workers on its proper installation and use. The suit also maintains the design and construction of the metal door was defective.

The lawsuit seeks in excess of $50,000 including delay damages, interest and allowable costs.

Brian Osborne, senior vice president of operations for Mepco, said Friday the company does not comment on lawsuits.

Staff Writer

Bob Niedbala has worked as a general assignment reporter for the newspaper for almost 30 years in the Greene County bureau. He received a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Pittsburgh.

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