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MSHA sues Darby for unpaid fines and penalties

The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration on Monday filed a lawsuit seeking more than $500,000 in unpaid fines from a coal company cited for safety violations in a May 2006 explosion that killed five miners in Harlan County.

In September 2008, the operator of the Darby Mine No. 1, Kentucky Darby LLC, withdrew its challenge to citations issued after the explosion and was given until Oct. 19, 2008, to pay a $342,000 fine, according to a release from MSHA.

"Kentucky Darby LLC had an opportunity to make good on its agreement to pay its penalty and it failed to do so," said Michael A. David, deputy assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health, in the release. "Consequently, the company now faces even higher fines."

According to the lawsuit, the mining company must pay $505,012, which includes unpaid civil penalties and additional penalties issued to the company, as well as interest and administrative fees. The company has 20 days after the complaint and summons are served to respond to the lawsuit.

An attorney for Kentucky Darby LLC could not immediately be reached for comment Monday.