Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Virginia's Fireman's rule does not apply to mine safety inspector

In Lockhart v. Coastal Coal Company, LLC, Judge Sargent of the W.D. Va. recommended denial of defendant's motion for summary judgment, concluding that the "Fireman's Rule" under Virginia law would not extend to protect the defendant from liability to a federal mine safety inspector who was struck by a falling rock in defendant's coal mine.

I can believe that a mine inspector is not quite the same as a fireman or police officer, but then again, what is the level of risk that a mine inspector assumes going into the mines. I would imagine that mine inspectors know quite a lot in general and might have very specific knowledge about how dangerous mines are. If the guy is there to see about the bad roof, does he assume the risk that the roof will hurt him? Then again, the inspector might say that the roof looked pretty good the last time he was in there.

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