Gerald Stern's "The Buffalo Creek Disaster" Analytical Essay by Neatwriter

This paper discusses the events of this story and the details of the landmark lawsuit are retold in Gerald Stern's "The Buffalo Creek Disaster".
# 59774 | 925 words | 0 sources | 2005 | US
Published on Jul 01, 2005 in Literature (American) , Law (Historic Trials) , Ethics (General)

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This paper explains that, in February of 1972, a dam built of coal waste refuse collapsed, unleashing a torrent of water and waste, sludge derived from coal-mining and coal-washing operations, killing 25 people and leaving the four thousand survivors homeless, their lives devastated, and their personal properties destroyed. The author recounts that Washington DC-based Arnold and Porter, for which Gerald Stern worked, took on the case; Stern's work as an advocate for disenfranchised minority citizens of the American Deep South made him an ideal and idealistic lawyer representing the survivors of the Buffalo Creek disaster. The paper relates the two main aspects to the Buffalo Creek Disaster lawsuit, which Stern won,: (1) The plaintiffs had to prove that Pittston was not simply careless or negligent, but was actually recklessly responsible for the disaster; and (2) Stern had to come up with monetary figures for his plaintiffs, assessing the damages due to them should the lawsuit be successful.

From the Paper:

"Following the disaster, which occurred in a section of rural Logan County, West Virginia, the coal company blamed nature, calling the dam failure an "act of God." This vague term was meant to assuage the survivors of the disaster and ease the pain of losing their loved ones and friends. However, the collapse of a waste water dam was obviously no "act of God" and it became apparent that the only way to prevent the coal company from getting away with their gross negligence was to sue and sue big. Stern had hoped to file criminal as well as civil charges against Pittston, the New York corporation that owned the Buffalo Mining Company. Although the Buffalo Mining Company was itself the owner of the dam, Stern reasoned that it would be far simpler and more effective to directly sue Pittston. Part of this decision was based on what Pittston describes as "piercing the corporate veil.""

Cite this Analytical Essay:

APA Format

Gerald Stern's "The Buffalo Creek Disaster" (2005, July 01) Retrieved October 20, 2019, from

MLA Format

"Gerald Stern's "The Buffalo Creek Disaster"" 01 July 2005. Web. 20 October. 2019. <>