W. Va. mine tragedy ad may result in ethics charge

John O'Brien Apr. 22, 2010, 5:59am


CHARLESTON, W. Va. -- The law firm that ran advertisements in the wake of the recent West Virginia mine tragedy is expecting an ethics complaint.

H. John Rogers, an attorney from New Martinsville, W.Va., told Phil Kabler of the Charleston Gazette that he plans on filing the complaint with the state Bar Association.

Attorney Mark Underwood had taken out an ad targeting those affected by the explosion at Massey Energy-owned Upper Big Branch mine that killed 29 miners.

The ad says in large letters, "The real tragedy of the Massey mine disaster is that it should have been prevented."

"That is sick, sick, sick," Rogers told Kabler.

Rogers was once quoted as saying, "If somebody can make $50 million by running to (Charleston's) Yeager Airport while the ashes are smoldering, why not?"

Underwood called Rogers "ornery and irascible."

"His antics have made us laugh inumerable times over the years," Underwood said.

"However, as we set about the serious business at hand, the West Virginia Rules of Professional Responsibility will be the arbiter of our professional conduct rather than Mr. Rogers."

The ad includes the number of citations the mine has received this year and urges those affected not to be talked into a "quick settlement" by Massey.

Underwood's grandfather lost his life in a coal mining accident in Fayette County before he was born. A corner was set aside in his house growing up for his picture.

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