Lawsuit filed in 2019 trench collapse death of City of Shinnston employee


CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – The family of a City of Shinnston employee, who died on the job last year, has filed a lawsuit against the man’s two supervisors.

Attorneys for the Miley Legal Group are representing the family of Robert Stark in the suit against Shinnston City Manager Chad Edwards and Public Works supervisor Matthew Maxwell. The City of Shinnston is not named in the suit.

Stark died on June 14, 2019 after the trench he was working in collapsed on him. It took crews 29 minutes to rescue Stark from under the dirt that fell on him, according to the lawsuit.

Workers fill in a trench along Van Rufus Drive, in Shinnston, on June 14, 2019

The suit alleges that Edwards and Maxwell instructed Stark and other city employees to perform the work on a failed storm drain on Van Rufus Drive after quotes from private contractors came back higher than expected.

Robert Stark, Courtesy of Harmer Funeral Home

The suit goes on to say that the city employees lacked the equipment and training to do that kind of work.

The lawsuit accuses Edwards and Maxwell of deliberate intent and recklessness in Stark’s death and is asking for compensation for his pain and suffering; the sorrow and anguish felt by his family; his lost income; funeral expenses and other costs.

The full lawsuit can be read here.

According to his obituary, Stark was 50 years old and left behind his wife, two sons and four grandchildren.

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