On the issue of the UMW, Haden noted that union lawyers said their position is "to protect both jobs and communities so that when the coal mining is over, what remains has been disturbed as little as possible and the community remains intact."
"Consequently, the UMWA may espouse a legal position different from, and adverse to, the positions taken by the current defendants, including Hobet," Haden wrote.
Haden added that he would "scrutinize any effort by the UMWA to broaden the scope of the case in order to further the UMWA's particular interests."
"The court recognizes the importance of reaching a trial on the merits of the instant case as soon as possible, without sacrificing attention to proper factual discovery," the judge wrote. "The court will not allow any party to derail the case."
Along with his Tuesday ruling, Haden opened to the public two case documents he had sealed last week.
One document was an order sealing the letter from Underwood, Tomblin and Kiss. The other was the two-page letter from the three elected officials. Haden said he had initially sealed the documents because they were sent to him marked "Personal and Confidential." He unsealed them when no one proved to him they should be kept secret.
In the letter, Underwood, Tomblin and Kiss asked Haden to expedite the trial.
"More than 18,000 West Virginians work in mining operations and 51,000 work directly and indirectly in mining," the letter said. "This important segment of our population depends upon wages and benefits from their jobs to provide for their families.
"In 1997, coal operations generated $180 million in coal severance taxes to state and local governments," it said. "West Virginians who work in mining ultimately purchase goods and services from local merchants and business operators. In turn, they pay taxes to fund education and donate to churches and community organizations.
"Over the last two weeks, mining job layoffs have been announced and some have in fact occurred. It is our collective understanding that layoffs will continue along with the ceasing of mining operations in at least one location by Miner's Vacation Day in July 1999," the letter said.
"These developments and prospects are of critical importance to West Virginians as well as state and local economies and, in our view, warrant expedited consideration and adjudication of the issues presented," it said. "In making this request, we truly appreciate the challenges you face as we have struggled with these issues for the past year."