After an Illinois coal mine experienced a mine fire due to the spontaneous combustion of coal, the mine operator withheld years’ worth of lease payments from the mine’s owner, our client, claiming the fire constituted an act of God.
The owner, however, correctly maintained that spontaneous combustion, a well-known phenomenon in the coal mining industry, was a man-made event caused by a variety of factors, including the manner in which the mine was being ventilated. Our client then sued for breach of contract resulting from a wrongful assertion of force majeure, seeking $116 million.
We helped our client go home with $190 million and protect one of its most important assets.
Our team’s meticulous and aggressive approach to discovery, trial preparation, and willingness to stand our ground paid off when the mine operator agreed to settle for $190 million the day before trial. The settlement included future damages and was more than our client sought in the underlying case.