A federal judge has ruled that one of Gov. Jim Justice’s coal companies is liable for health care premiums for a retired miner.
U.S. District Judge Frank Volk ruled last week that Bluestone Coal owes a retired miner and his spouse six years of unpaid health care premiums.
Volk, in an opinion filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, gave the parties 30 days to reach an agreement on a settlement.
Bluestone owed about $100,000 in premium payments for Kenny and Patsy Dowell as of last September. The company must also pay interest and liquidated damages equal to 20 percent of the principal.
Bluestone is one of the numerous coal companies owned by the Justice family. Other Justice companies have been ordered to pay back loans and civil penalties in recent months.
In March, Bluestone Resources was found to be in default on an $861,000 loan from an Elkins bank. In December, Bluestone Coke was ordered to pay $925,000 to address air pollution violations in Birmingham, Alabama.