14 November 2008

U.S. Supreme Court Accepts Caperton v. Massey for Appeal

The U.S. Supreme Court voted Friday "to review the actions of a West Virginia Supreme Court justice whose vote overturned a $50 million verdict against a company that is run by the most generous backer of his election," The Associated Press reports.

AP explains that "Don Blankenship, the chief executive of Massey Energy Co., spent more than $3 million to help elect Justice Brent Benjamin to the West Virginia high court. Benjamin twice was part of 3-2 majorities that threw out a verdict in favor of Harman Mining Co. in its coal contract dispute with Massey."

The nation's highest court agreed to take the case after such groups as the American Bar Association filed briefs supporting the appeal. It also attracted an editorial from The New York Times.

Update: The justices voted as a Logan County civil trial continues in the lawsuit filed by survivors of two miners killed in a 2006 fire at a Massey subsidiary. AP and The Charleston Gazette are among those covering the wrongful death case, which includes Blankenship as a co-defendant.

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