Court reporter happy with Massey verdict, attorney says

By Chris Dickerson | Mar 6, 2007


CHARLESTON – The Boone County court reporter who had been sued by Massey Energy is happy the energy giant's case against her was dismissed last week.

"She's tickled to death," defense attorney Bob Martin said of Jennifer Meadows. "She's still fired up over it, though. They sued her for all kinds of nasty stuff."

On March 1, Chief U.S. District Judge David Faber tossed out the case filed by six Massey subsidiaries against Meadows, saying she did not violate Massey's due process rights. Massey had alleged Meadows "intentionally misrepresented her ability to produce a transcript" for a 2002 trial in which Massey and several of its subsidiary companies were sued. Ultimately, Massey was ordered to pay more than $50 million in damages. With interest, that award now is close to $70 million.

To see the order, click here.

Massey also claimed Meadows' actions had caused them "substantial financial damages."

"There were some problems with the transcript, but not to the point of where she should have been sued," said Martin, an attorney with Bailey & Wyant in Charleston. "It was a good win. It was the right thing. You can't have public employees being sued like that.

"What's next? Sue the judges in an adverse ruling? That's what is next with stuff like that."

In 1998, Hugh M. Caperton, Harman Development Corp., Harman Mining Corp. and Sovereign Coal Sales Inc. filed the suit against Massey Coal, Elk Run Coal Co., Independence Coal Co., Marfork Coal Co., Performance Coal Co. and Massey Coal Sales Co. alleging Massey was liable for damages arising out of a series of transactions that also were the subject of a separate lawsuit in Virginia.

Massey said Meadows repeatedly delayed submitting a full trial transcript needed for an appeal to the state Supreme Court. When she did turn one over, Massey said it had many errors and omissions. In the March 1 ruling, Faber said a proper transcript was certified by Circuit Judge Jay Hoke, who oversaw the 2002 trial.

Martin noted that Faber did leave open Massey's state law claims against Meadows and said the company still could sue her in state court.

"I don't think there's any basis there either," he said.

U.S. District Court case number: 2:06-0484

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