Lawsuit filed

The storm caused a roof, described as being 100 feet in length, to be blown off of the former Hock Shop building on West Court Street and onto four cars, one of which was in operation. The driver of that vehicle died at the scene. A passenger was uninjured.

A lawsuit filed recently in Floyd County alleges negligence in the roof incident that killed a Pike County resident in Prestonsburg last year.

Michael Coleman, 61, of Pikeville, was killed as a result of blunt force trauma he suffered on May 29, 2019. Police reported at the time that Coleman was driving on West Court Street with his fiancé when the roof of the former Hock Shop building blew off and crashed onto his vehicle and three other vehicles parked on the roadway.

The storm, which lasted only a few minutes, caused trees to fall on two houses, a tree to crash into a car near City Hall and the 100 feet long rooftop to blow off of the former Hock Shop building, which was being remodeled.

Mountain Comprehensive Care Center owns the former Hock Shop building.

Ed Ray, a meteorologist who serves as the science and operations officer at the National Weather Service in Jackson, told the Floyd County Chronicle and Times last May that the incident was the result of a downburst that carried winds of between 70 and 80 miles per hour.

Pike County resident Judith Coleman, the sister of Michael Coleman, and Patricia Blankenship, who was a passenger in Coleman’s truck that day, filed a lawsuit recently against MCCC and Castle’s Roofing and Siding of Paintsville, which repaired the roof of the building, according to the lawsuit.

On May 29, Coleman was driving on West Court Street in Prestonsburg, when a “recently repaired or replaced section of roof detached and struck his truck, killing him,” the lawsuit alleges.

The lawsuit, filed by the Gary C. Johnson and Ray S. Jones law offices in Pike County, claims MCCC was responsible for the condition of the building and should have been aware of the “hazardous condition caused by the failure to properly construct or reconstruct the roof to prevent its detachment and subsequent injury to members of the public.”

The attorneys allege MCCC failed to “adequately mark”or post a warning about the hazards of the building during the remodeling.  

The lawsuit claims Castle’s Roofing and Siding “built, replaced and/or repaired the roof” of the building and should have been aware of the hazardous conditions allegedly “caused by the failure to properly repair or replace the roof to prevent its detachment and subsequent injury to members of the public.”

In addition to killing Coleman, the incident caused Blankenship to suffer “permanent and severe bodily injury and emotional injuries,” the lawsuit alleges, as well as “pain suffering, mental anguish, disfigurement, and inconvenience.”

The lawsuit alleges that the actions or omission of MCCC and Castle’s Roofing “constituted negligence, gross negligence, and/or reckless disregard for human life.”

The lawsuit alleges that the actions or omissions of MCCC and Castle’s Roofing violated state laws, regulations and/or building codes.

Coleman and Blankenship seek damages for “pre-impact and post-impact fright, past pain and suffering,” past mental and physical pain and suffering, medical expenses, the loss of Coleman’s ability to earn money, lost wages, funeral expenses, punitive damages and other expenses.

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