The Buffalo Creek Disaster: The Story of the Survivors' Unprecedented Lawsuit

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9780394403908: The Buffalo Creek Disaster: The Story of the Survivors' Unprecedented Lawsuit
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Dust jacket notes: "On a sleepy Saturday morning in a mountain hollow in West Virginia, a coal company's refuse-pile dam collapsed, devastating the sixteen small towns in the Buffalo Creek Valley below, killing over 125 people and scarring forever the lives of those who survived. The coal company immediately proclaimed the tragedy 'an act of God.' The survivors knew better. As one said, 'You can blame the Almighty all right - the almighty dollar.' A few hundred of these four thousand survivors banded together to find 'a law firm the company can't scare off or buy off.' They found Gerald Stern, the public interest partner in the well-known Washington, D.C. law firm of Arnold & Porter. The reader joins Gerald Stern on his first flight into this remote are of West Virginia and follows him, step by step, as he reveals his thoughts, fears and strategies throughout one of the largest lawsuits in this country's history. It is a fascinating account of 'investigative lawyering,' of how he used the law to uncover, layer by layer, the evidence of the coal company's reckless conduct. But The Buffalo Creek Disaster is more than an inside look at a gripping legal drama. It is also an absorbing tale of human suffering, and human triumph, with personal stories movingly interwoven among the complexities of the court proceedings. The suspense grows as each side jockeys to win the case. In the end, there is a whole army of lawyers, doctors and psychiatrists involved as the survivors establish their right to recover, as survivors, for their own mental suffering, in addition to their traditional right to recover for the deaths of their loved ones and for their property losses. Gerald Stern has written a penetrating behind-the-scenes account of a precedent-making lawsuit, unveiling the mystery of the law in human terms."

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