The state Department of Environmental Protection has imposed a moratorium on new coal slurry injection sites. Twelve of the 13 currently permitted in West Virginia are active.
Mazzone gave Massey and the plaintiffs until Sept. 1 to hammer out two key evidence issues -- whether Massey chief executive Don Blankenship should be compelled to testify and whether the plaintiffs can have access to a company database of environmental violations. If the parties cannot agree, the judges will decide.
"But we're all very confident that you all will resolve those issues," he said.
Mazzone also ordered the plaintiffs to give Massey, within 30 days, the legal authorization it needs to look at every plaintiff's medical records. He also ordered the information to be shared within 60 days.
Plaintiffs' attorney Kevin Thompson said some of the original plaintiffs have died, and wrongful-death claims will be added to the case in the coming months.
Moats repeatedly stated his intention to keep the case on track this time, saying the public rightly becomes frustrated when it takes years for lawsuits to work their way through the system.
"We are going to do what it takes to resolve these things sooner, rather than later," he said.
Swope demanded, though, that every plaintiff who intends to keep fighting Massey be present on Nov. 15, and that every attorney has the authority he or she needs to settle. All, he said, should be prepared to stay a while.
"This mediation is going to last 'til it's done, folks," Swope said.
"These cases can be resolved," Moats added. "That's what we're going to do."