Examples of Business Law and Ethics in the Buffalo Creek Disaster Essay

Words: 1389
Pages: 6

Logan County, West Virginia is home to a small area called the Buffalo Creek Hallow. Numerous towns sprang up over years in this coal rich creek since the boom of the mining industry. The year 1970 saw the most prosperous year for coal, the increased demand attracted new mining companies to set up shop at Buffalo Creek however a flood during a cold winter morning in 1972 changed the lives of the residents forever.

The coal mining history of Buffalo Creek can be traced back all the way to 1940s. At that time, Lorado Coal Mining Company opened Mine No.5 at the almost the top of the Buffalo hallow. The dumping of sludge from this mine was happening at the mouth of the middle fork. It functioned just like a dam and was viewed like one
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A person is negligent when s/he acts in a way that falls below the standard of care necessary to protect others from an unreasonable risk of injury. There are 4 elements to proving negligence in this case:

1.Duty: the “standard of care” owed to the plaintiff by the defendant. This is usually the reasonable person standard. In this case, Pittson Coal owed its employees who worked in Buffalo Creek mines a minimum standard of care that ensured safe working conditions protecting them for any injuries during the course of their work.

2.Breach of duty: Once the duty is established, the plaintiff must prove the defendant failed to live up to that duty. In this case, Pittson Coal clearly breached their duty to provide safe working conditions as it failed to address all safety warnings issued from major government departments like the mining bureau, the National Guard, the State Police, and even the local sheriff’s office after the first damn failure to take corrective action.

Also, Pittson Coal failed to obtain a permit to construct their new “third dam” when there was a requirement of the state that a permit must be granted before the construction of any dam could have taken place in the Buffalo Hollow at all. Thus, Pittson Coal can be found the guilty under the law of Negligence Per Se - Negligence Per Se (“Per se” meaning automatic) states if you carelessly engage