PIKEVILLE — A St. Louis attorney last week filed two multimillion-dollar compaints in U.S. District Court in Pikeville, on behalf of two former coal miners who say they contracted black lung after being given faulty respirators.
Attorney Zane T. Cagle filed the lawsuits on behalf of Ricky Sturgill and his wife, Ruby, and Chuck Bentley and his wife, Connie. Both couples are suing Mine Safety Appliances and American Optical Corporation, while the Sturgills are also suing 3M Company.
According to the Sturgills’ lawsuit, Ricky Sturgill worked as a miner for Cumberland Coal Company from 1977 to 2002, and during his employment used respirators manufactured by 3M, Mine Safety Appliances and American Optical Corporation. He has since developed black lung and alleges the companies knew or should have known their products did not offer adequate protection from coal dust.
Likewise, Bentley was employed as a miner from 1975 to 2008 and during that time used respirators manufactured by American Optical and Mine Safety Appliances. He, too, contracted black lung.
Each man is seeking compensatory damages of more than $75,000 and punitive damages of more than $20 million from each company.