KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The widow of a miner is suing a mining company after a fatal accident.

In the lawsuit, Brenda Turbyville alleges that Nystar Tennessee Mines and the upper management of the area recklessly sent her husband, Gerald Turbyville, back into an unsafe area, where he was fatally wounded by falling rock.

On July 13, 2021, Mr. Turbyville had been assigned to work in an older area of the mine known as 17-W-3 according to the lawsuit. This area was noted to have been dangerous as rock would regularly fall from the roof and sides of the area.

The main method of mining in this mine was blast mining, according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit also alleges the mine violated federal mine safety laws due to the lack of support in the area and multiple rock layers and regular failures in the roof and walls of the mine.

It was stated in the lawsuit that during his July 13 shift, there had previously been rock falling from the walls and roof of the mine around crew members. The foreman told the crew to clear the area, but later, upper mine management sent the crew back to work in the area even though the foreman had stated earlier that the area was “imminently dangerous,” the lawsuit says.

Point 13 of the lawsuit states that after returning to the area, Mr. Turbyville was performing scaling operations in the basket of a personal lift when a large piece of rock fell, resulting in head, neck, and back injuries which were fatal. Two other employees on the crew were also injured.

The lawsuit is seeking damages to cover funeral and burial expenses, lost income, pre-death pain
and suffering, mental anguish and emotional distress, loss of decedent’s love and companionship,
and other general and special damages. The lawsuit also leaves the amount of each of these damages to be determined by a jury.