Court to hear Massey appeal, jail fee arguments

By Chris Dickerson | Apr 6, 2007

CHARLESTON – The state Supreme Court will hear Massey Energy's appeal of a $50 million Boone County verdict.

In 2002, a Boone Circuit Court jury ruled that Massey had forced Harman Mining out of business and into bankruptcy. Judge Jay Hoke upheld the verdict in 2005.

The Court decided 5-0 to hear Massey's appeal.

The basis of Harman's suit was that Massey nullified a 10-year contract to sell coal to LTV Steel. The sales went through Wellmore Coal, a Boone County company owned by Massey.

Massey, however, says Harman filed for bankruptcy because of losses at a Virginia mine, among other reasons.

Also Thursday, the Court said it will hear arguments in a dispute between Cabell County and the state Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority over daily fees the authority charges to house inmates.

The authority charges $48.50 per day. Cabell County has taken issue with that amount since 2004. Before that, the fee was $45 per day.

Last April, the authority contested a ruling by Cabell Circuit Judge David Pancake that said the fee was raised improperly because it didn't have a quorum of its voting members. Also, the ruling said the authority unfairly calculated the daily fee.

The Court voted 4-1 to hear the case, with Justice Larry Starcher dissenting.

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