Shareholder says Massey violated court order

By Steve Korris | Apr 22, 2010

CHARLESTON – Manville Personal Injury Trust, a shareholder of Massey Energy, claims Massey violated a court order that would have made its coal mines safer.

On April 16, Andrew MacQueen of Charleston moved to hold Massey's directors in civil contempt for failing to honor a settlement they reached with the trust in 2008.

So far, the trust's evidence comes from television, radio and newspapers.

MacQueen submitted an affidavit quoting reports of ABC News, Bloomberg News, Charleston Gazette, Associated Press and National Public Radio. He also quoted a New York Times interview with two anonymous miners.

The reports followed an explosion that killed 29 men at Massey's Upper Big Branch mine.

MacQueen wrote that "the surge in mine safety violations at Upper Big Branch raise serious doubts as to the board's good faith compliance with the order."

Massey plans to increase production at other mines, he wrote, but he claimed safety records at some mines are as bad as at Upper Big Branch.

The trust sued Massey in 2007, claiming directors violated a fiduciary duty by failing to comply with worker safety laws and environmental regulations.

In 2008, Massey pledged to change policies and procedures.

The settlement strengthened Massey's safety committee, added compliance oversight positions, and enhanced reporting mechanisms, according to MacQueen.

Massey has not provided compliance reports to shareholders, he wrote.

He asked Stucky to schedule a hearing on contempt and to expedite document production and depositions.

MacQueen acts as local counsel in association with Joseph Rice, Anne Kearse and Badge Humphries of Motley Rice in Mount Pleasant, S.C.

Thomas Flaherty of Charleston represents Massey chairman Don Blankenship and director Baxter Phillips Jr.

Ronald Rolfe and Julie North of New York represent other directors.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 10-C-715

More News

The Record Network