Consumers for Justice bankruptcy petition in good standing in Charleston
CHARLESTON – In reporting an attorney's error, The West Virginia Record committed an error. Last week, The Record reported that West Virginia Consumers for Justice, a political campaign organization, mistakenly filed a bankruptcy petition in West Virginia. The petition, however, remains in good standing at U. S. bankruptcy court in Charleston. The campaign group made a mistake, but not in the bankruptcy petition. The mistake lay in the group's effort to remove a civil lawsuit from Virginia to the bankruptcy court in Charleston. Attorney Joseph Caldwell, who withdrew the removal notice on behalf of the group and admitted a mistake, asked the Record to correct its mistake. Caldwell said, "Once the error of my ways was found I didn't try to hide." In its bankruptcy petition of West Virginia Consumers for Justice listed assets of $1,534 and potential liabilities of $300 million. The potential liabilities connect to a defamation lawsuit that Massey Energy president Don Blankenship filed against the group after the 2004 election. Blankenship supported Brent Benjamin for the Supreme Court of Appeals, and Consumers for Justice supported Justice Warren McGraw. Benjamin won. Blankenship and his company sued West Virginia Consumers for Justice, its president Kenneth Purdue, and others in Fairfax County, Virginia. Perdue removed the suit to federal court in Virginia. Caldwell said federal court in Virginia could keep the case for trial, remand it to Fairfax County, send it to federal court in West Virginia for trial, or send it to bankruptcy court in West Virginia.