Judge orders Justice to release finances for failure to pay sanctions

By Kyla Asbury | Jan 3, 2019

BECKLEY — District Judge Irene C. Berger ordered Giv. Jim Justice to release financial information for Justice Energy that was requested by federal prosecutors in a case involving Justice Energy's failure to repay court-imposed sanctions.

Berger filed the order in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia at Beckley on Jan. 2.

"The United States indicates that the defendant has not made any payment to satisfy the court's civil contempt sanction and has not furnished financial information in response to a request by the United States," the order states.

The government asked Berger for leave to depose employees and representatives of Justice Energy and Berger granted the request. The defendants have until Jan. 25 to complete financial forms and until Feb. 15 to make its employees available for depositions.

"The defendant's decision to simply ignore court orders, deadlines and obligations precipitated the imposition of the contempt sanction," Berger wrote in a footnote on the last page of the order. "Continuing to flout the court's directives is not a strategy likely to engender positive results."

In December, a status report was filed on Dec. 21 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia at Beckley in which U.S. Attorney Michael B. Stuart said no payment had been made by the defendant to satisfy the civil contempt sanction imposed by the federal court of $1.23 million.

"Counsel for the United States sent a letter and a request for financial information to counsel for Justice Energy Company, Inc., on November 28, 2018," the document obtained by The West Virginia Record stated. "The request allowed Justice Energy Company, Inc., ten business days to furnish the requested financial information."

Justice still has not provided the requested financial information.

In the Nov. 28 letter, Stuart wrote that based on his conversations with Justice's attorneys, it was suggested that the coal company "may not have the financial resources" to pay the sanctions imposed by the court.

The 2013 lawsuit involves James River Equipment-Virginia LLC and Justice Energy. James River claims Justice began purchasing parts, equipment and services in April 2013 and failed to pay back what it owed for them.

James River claimed Justice breached its contract and was unjustly enriched at James River's expense.

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia Case number: 5:13-cv-28160

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