April 16, 2013 in City

Miner’s family sues Hecla for Lucky Friday Mine death

By The Spokesman-Review
 

The family of a miner killed in a tunnel collapse two years ago has sued Hecla Mining Co.

Larry “Pete” Marek, 53, was crushed to death in a cave-in more than a mile deep inside the Lucky Friday Mine on April 15, 2011. It took rescue workers nine days to dig out his body in the silver mine near Mullan, Idaho.

On Friday, Marek’s widow, Patricia, and his daughter, Hayley Marek, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Coeur d’Alene-based Hecla, President and CEO Phillips Baker Jr. and six company managers and engineers.

Joining them in the suit are Mike Marek, Pete’s brother, and his wife, Jodie. Mike Marek also was working in the tunnel during the collapse and suffered injuries when a 25-foot-high rock pile collapsed.

The suit alleges that the defendants “showed a pattern of reckless and intentional disregard for the safety of Hecla’s workers.” It cites Mine Safety and Health Administration findings that faulted Hecla for undercutting support pillars to extract silver ore in violation of mandatory safety regulations.

A Hecla spokesman said Monday the company would not comment on pending litigation.

The suit does not specify a dollar figure that the family is seeking in damages. The federal government fined Hecla $360,000 for four citations associated with Marek’s death.

Others named as defendants are John Jordan, general manager; Doug Bayer, mine supervisor; Ron Krusemark, chief engineer; Scott Hogamier, safety coordinator; Cindy Moore, chief engineer; and Dale Stepro, shift boss.


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