CHARLESTON – The U.S. government has been given another extension to file a response in the appeal of Don L. Blankenship’s conviction for conspiring to violate federal mine safety standards at Upper Big Branch Mine.
On July 13, an order further extending time to file a response to petition was filed. The government’s response is now due on Aug. 25. Previously, the government was scheduled to file a response by July 26.
Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey B. Wall wrote in his letter that the extension “is necessary because the attorneys with primary responsibility for preparation of the government’s response have been heavily engaged with the press of previously assigned matters with proximate due dates.”
On May 25, Blankenship filed a petition for a writ of certiorari. The government was first supposed to file a response by June 26. Twice it has been given an extension.
Blankenship was convicted in 2015 of conspiring to violate federal mine safety and health standards during the 15-month period before the April 5, 2010, explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine.
Blankenship was sentenced to one year in prison by U.S. District Judge Irene C. Berger in April 2016. He also was fined the maximum $250,000 and was ordered to spend one year on probation.
Blankenship was the CEO of Massey Energy at the time of the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster in April 2010, where 29 men were killed.
Blankenship is represented by William W. Taylor III of Zuckerman Spaeder.
U.S. Supreme Court case number: 16-1413