Attorney Steve Ruby West Virginia looks back at the deadly Raleigh County mine disaster and subsequent case, ten years on.
Celebrated attorney Steve Ruby West Virginia, a former U.S. Attorney’s Office chief, marks the tenth anniversary of the Upper Big Branch mine disaster and subsequent case as he takes a personal and professional look back on the tragedy and its aftermath.
“As a prosecutor, during my career, I’ve amassed a vast record of convictions, many of which have gained national renown,” says Steve Ruby West Virginia, speaking from his office in Charleston, West Virginia. Ruby is a former chief for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia.
Among the most high-profile cases handled by Steve Ruby West Virginia to date was that which centered around the devastating Upper Big Branch mine disaster in 2010. In the wake of the deadly Raleigh County mine disaster ten years ago, Ruby spearheaded an investigation that led to the largest-ever recovery in a criminal mine safety case.
“In the wake of the coal mine explosion that tragically killed 29 miners, I spearheaded an investigation that ultimately led to five criminal convictions and a $209 million resolution,” reveals Steve Ruby West Virginia, looking back on the matter as he marks the tenth anniversary of the April 2010 disaster and subsequent case.
Steve Ruby West Virginia’s more than $200 million resolution was reached with the successor company of the mine operator at the time. “A $209 million resolution, it represented the largest-ever recovery in a criminal mine safety case,” reveals the attorney.
The Upper Big Branch mine disaster investigation, he goes on to explain, culminated in a nine-week jury trial. “Further to the record monetary settlement, it was also the first-ever conviction of a CEO of a major company for a workplace safety crime,” points out Steve Ruby West Virginia.
The case was later featured on CBS’ 60 Minutes, the oldest and most-watched newsmagazine on U.S. television, in March 2016.
This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Upper Big Branch mine disaster. The deadly disaster occurred on April 5, 2010, in Raleigh County, West Virginia. Roughly 1,000 feet underground, at Upper Big Branch coal mine, located in the unincorporated community and coal town of Montcoal, twenty-nine miners tragically lost their lives.
“Following a coal dust explosion at 3:27 pm on that fateful day ten years ago, twenty-nine out of thirty-one miners were killed at the site,” reveals Steve Ruby West Virginia, looking back. A 48-foot granite monument with life-size silhouettes of the 29 miners who lost their lives etched on the front can today be found in nearby Whitesville, West Virginia, he goes on to explain.
Known as the Upper Big Branch Miners Memorial, it was dedicated in July 2012, according to Steve Ruby West Virginia. “Also poignantly etched on the reverse is a tribute to all coal miners who have died or endured illness or injury as a result of their work in the coal industry,” adds the attorney, wrapping up.