"This case was about the desecration of the Crystal Block Cemetery. The jury found defendant General Pipeline Construction Co. 70 percent at fault and Equitable Production, now EQT, 30 percent at fault," said David Barney Jr., a Charleston lawyer who represents the relatives of people buried in the cemetery,
The Logan County jury awarded $714,000 in compensatory damages from General Pipeline, including $14,000 for restoration of the cemetery and $700,000 for "emotional damages."
Those damages include $50,000 for each of the 14 black families that filed the lawsuit.
A week later, the jury assessed an award of $200,000 against Equitable.
Attorneys for General Pipeline and Equitable could not be reached for comment.
During last fall's Logan County jury trial, Equitable lawyer Daniel R. Schuda described the incident as an "innocent and unknowing entry." He argued that no records indicated a cemetery was there and that Equitable's equipment driver caused no damage.
Kevin Thompson, a lawyer representing the surviving relatives, stated during the trial, that Crystal Block Cemetery included several graves that had modern headstones, including one for a veteran who fought in World War II and Korea.
During the trial, Thompson also alleged that an Equitable bulldozer driver uttered racial slurs when resident Bud Baisden urged him not to disturb graves in the cemetery.
James Olbert, whose father Daniel is buried in the cemetery, was the first person to observe damages created by the General Pipeline and EQT project.
Reach Paul J. Nyden at pjny...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5164.