In advance of tomorrow’s argument in Caperton v. A. T. Massey Coal Co., the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia has granted the Caperton corporations’ motion require Massey to post an appeal bond, but has denied their motion to affirm the judgment from the circuit court. Here is my post from last month that discussed the motions.
Paul Nyden reported in the Saturday Gazette-Mail that the Court ruled last Thursday and ordered Massey to post a new bond or letter of credit with the Circuit Court of Boone County, West Virginia for at least $55 million (although the motion had requested a bond of $85 million, which is the current value of the verdict with accrued interest). In 2003, the circuit court judge who presided over the trial ordered Massey to post a bond of $55 million, which Massey did with an irrevocable letter of credit from PNC Bank, but apparently the parties reached an agreement in 2007 that, among other things, released Massey’s letter of credit. The Supreme Court’s order reinstates the circuit court’s 2003 order.
But the Court denied the motion filed by Harman Development Corporation, Harman Mining Corporation, and Sovereign Coal Sales, Inc to affirm the circuit court’s judgment order on the grounds that without Chief Justice Brent Benjamin’s vote in Massey’s favor in April 2008, the vote would have been 2-2, which should have acted to affirm the order.
I have not seen the Supreme Court’s order, and Nyden’s article did not quote any language regarding the basis for its denial of the corporations’ motion. But obviously the Court did not interpret the United States Supreme Court’s decision to reverse its decision in Massey’s favor as precluding further review on the state court level.
Remember that you can watch tomorrow’s argument — and any others, for that matter — on the Supreme Court’s webcast, which you can access here. I intend, at this point, anyway, to watch the argument and write about it.