A federal appeals court has thrown out a lawsuit filed by the families of 78 men who were killed in a 1968 mine explosion in Marin County.

The ruling Wednesday by the 4th U.S. Circuit Appeals affirms a 2017 ruling by a federal judge.

The men died after an explosion ripped through the Farmington No. 9 mine.

In a 2014 lawsuit, the families accused Consolidation Coal of fraudulently concealing key information that would have allowed them to file a wrongful-death lawsuit years earlier.

The 4th Circuit cited a West Virginia Supreme Court finding that the wrongful-death claim was barred by a two-year statute of limitations.

Attorney Timothy Bailey said the families are disappointed. He said "it's a sad day" for the families and for "truth and justice."

Historically, miner's families have not fared well after state disasters.

The Farmington No. 9 families received $10,000.

The state of West Virginia also sued the Buffalo Creek-Pittston Coal Company for $100 million in disaster and relief damages, but a small settlement was reached for just $1 million with Governor Arch A. Moore, Jr., three days before he left office in 1977.

After years of litigation, the lawyers for the victims earned millions of dollars, and each family got $13,000. Arnold & Porter of Washington, D.C. said they were donating a portion of their legal fees for the construction of a new community center announced by Gov. Moore. It was never built.

Perhaps most irresponsible, unconscionable "act of god" statement was made by Governor Arch Moore: "The only real sad part is that the State of West Virginia has taken a terrible beating (clean-up costs) that is worse than the disaster," when he lets Pittson off $99 million with the taxpayers picking up the costs.

See   50 YEARS AGO: CALHOUN FAMILY'S LIFE CHANGED QUICKLY - Farmington Mine Disaster Claimed Harold Butt


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