Massey is supplementing workers' compensation benefits, so widows receive miners' full salaries for the rest of their lives or until they remarry. It also provides medical benefits to widows for 20 years and continued medical benefits for dependent children with no premiums. The company will also pay $5,000 a year for child care, and provide dependents with four-year scholarships to an accredited public college or vocational school in West Virginia.
Litigation involving miners' deaths, he says, usually takes three to four years to resolve. That could motivate some families to settle. But they stand to receive less if the company is cleared of wrongdoing and decides to lower its offer. Massey says it currently has no plans to do so. Regulators say the Massey mine had a pattern of serious and frequent safety violations over the past two years. (WSJ, 12/7/2010)