24 July 2009

Massey Dropping Lawsuit vs W.Va. Supreme Court

Massey Energy Co. has agreed to the dismissal of its recently reactivated federal lawsuit against West Virginia's Supreme Court, The Associated Press and others report.

Massey had targeted the court's recusal procedure, while seeking the removal of then-Justice Larry Starcher from hearing cases involving the coal producer.

"Starcher was known for often harsh criticism of Massey chief Don Blankenship," the AP article noted ."At various times over the years, Starcher called Blankenship 'stupid' and a 'clown.'"

The presiding judge had recently given both sides until July 31 to weigh in on whether last month's ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court's -- which ordered Justice Brent Benjamin's recusal from an appeal involving Massey -- was relevent to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit had been on hold while the U.S. justices reviewed the Benjamin recusal matter. As earlier noted, Massey had enlisted allies in the U.S. Supreme Court appeal who "defended West Virginia's recusal rule and argued against 'second-guessing by the federal courts regarding such state-crafted policies.'"

"Richmond, Va.-based Massey says in a statement Friday that the retirement of former Justice Larry Starcher last year prompted it to give up the suit," AP reported.

Others with coverage include MetroNews and The Charleston Gazette.

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