In response to a lawsuit filed by a coal miner and a disciplinary case against an attorney at the law firm, Jackson Kelly argued it has no legal obligation to do so.
"The role of attorneys in federal black lung litigation, as in all other adversarial proceedings, is to evaluate all of the information, including experts' opinions, and to offer the evidence which best supports their client's position," lawyer Kathy Snyder wrote in a brief, according to a second story from the Center for Public Integrity.
In the coal miner's lawsuit, Administrative Law Judge Thomas Burke determined Jackson Kelly's behavior was fraudulent. The law firm is appealing; oral arguments in the appeal case were heard Monday before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, according to the second story.
The coal miner involved in the case, Gary Fox, died from complications due to black lung in 2009, according to the center.
In addition to Kessler, the Daily Mail requested comment from all five members of West Virginia's national congressional delegation, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, House Speaker Tim Miley, state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, West Virginia Coal Association President Bill Raney and United Mine Workers Association spokesman Phil Smith.
Other than Kessler, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., was the only other official who chose to respond Monday.
In a statement emailed by a spokesman, Rockefeller did not specifically address the allegations against Jackson Kelly.
"It's clear those with Black Lung face too many hurdles in getting their benefits. It's deeply frustrating to me, and I'm working to address this injustice and heartbreaking problem through legislation," Rockefeller said in the statement.
"My bill takes important steps to prevent Black Lung and it creates a more fair claims process. As I've said before ... there are many ways to address this problem, and I'm always open to new ideas to help miners and their families."
In July, Rockefeller introduced a measure called the Black Lung Health Improvement Act of 2013. The bill would lower the allowable level of dust in the air at mines, require a federal black lung report annually and other measures.
Rockefeller has introduced similar measures in the past, including The Robert C. Byrd Mine and Workplace Safety and Health Act.
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., also supports that measure. A spokesman for his office acknowledged receiving the Daily Mail's request for comment, but the senator did not immediately respond.
A spokeswoman for Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., said the congresswoman had no comment. Representatives from Reps. David McKinley, R-W.Va., and Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., also did not respond.
Manchin, Capito, McKinley and Rahall all issued statements Tuesday pertaining to a coal rally Tuesday afternoon in Washington.
A Tomblin spokeswoman did not respond to an email or phone message requesting comment. A spokeswoman said Miley was out of the state Tuesday but she would try to get a comment. None was provided.
A spokeswoman for Morrisey said, "we will not be commenting on this matter." Raney said in a phone interview he wanted to read the report before he would comment.
The center plans to release the next parts of its series today and Friday, according to it's website. A link to the stories is available at dailymail.com.
There has been an increase in the number of black lung cases after decades of declining figures, the center and others report. Health officials also note a rise in the rate of disease among younger coal miners.