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Carver v. Foresight Energy LP

United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois, Springfield Division

July 12, 2016, Decided; July 13, 2016, E-Filed

No. 3:16-cv-3013

Opinion

SUE E. MYERSCOUGH, U.S. District Judge.

This cause is before the Court on the Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs' First Amended Class Complaint (d/e 22) filed by Defendants Murray Energy Corporation; Murray American Coal, Inc.; and Murray Energy Holdings Company (the Murray Defendants), and the Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs' First Amended Class Action Complaint (d/e 25) filed by Defendants Foresight Energy LP; Foresight Energy GP LLC; Foresight Energy LLC; Foresight Energy Services LLC; Patton Mining LLC; [*2]  Hillsboro Energy LLC; Hillsboro Energy LLC d/b/a Deer Run Mine; and Foresight Reserves LLP (the Foresight Energy Defendants). Defendants argue that Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint establishes that 60 days' notice under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act of 1988 (WARN Act) was excused for the closure of the Deer Run Mine under the Act's natural disaster exception because the combustion events which led to the closure qualify as a natural disaster.

Because Plaintiff's Amended Complaint plausibly states a claim under the WARN Act and does not unambiguously establish that affirmative defense to the Act, Defendants' Motions to Dismiss are DENIED. In addition, Plaintiffs' request for oral argument on the motions is DENIED.

I. JURISDICTION AND VENUE

This Court has subject matter jurisdiction because Plaintiffs' claims are based on the WARN Act, 29 U.S.C. § 2102, a federal law. See 28 U.S.C. § 1331 ("The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States"). Venue is proper because a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to Plaintiffs' claims occurred in this district. 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b)(2).

II. BACKGROUND

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2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90665 *; 2016 WL 3812376

NICK CARVER, WADE JACOBS, DALE BASIL, MIKE LEBETER, and ERIC WALLACE, individually and on behalf of others similarly situated, Plaintiffs, v. FORESIGHT ENERGY LP, MURRAY ENERGY CORPORATION, MURRAY AMERICAN COAL, INC, FORESIGHT ENERGY GP LLC, FORESIGHT ENERGY LLC, FORESIGHT ENERGY SERVICES LLC, PATTON MINING LLC, HILLSBORO ENERGY LLC, HILLSBORO ENERGY LLC d/b/a DEER RUN MINE, MURRAY ENERGY HOLDINGS COMPANY, FORESIGHT RESERVES LP, THE CLINE GROUP LLC, CHRISTOPHER CLINE, and DOE DEFENDANTS 1B10, Defendants.

Subsequent History: Settled by, Class certification granted by, Stay granted by Carver v. Foresight Energy LP, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 191144 (C.D. Ill., Oct. 24, 2016)

Settled by, Dismissed by, Judgment entered by Carver v. Foresight Energy LP, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 174788 (C.D. Ill., Jan. 24, 2017)

CORE TERMS

natural disaster, combustion, notice, motion to dismiss, affirmative defense, unambiguously, allegations, closure, coal, employees, plant, alleged facts, layoff