A hearing in the West Virginia case had been scheduled for Wednesday, but was canceled by Kanawha Circuit Judge Charles King. Lawyers for the shareholders filed a motion asking King to seal records regarding their request for a preliminary injunction. King had not ruled on the motion as of Tuesday afternoon, and the records were being withheld pending the judge's decision.
In Delaware, a judge unsealed records about the motion for an injunction in anticipation of a Thursday hearing on that motion, filed by the New Jersey Building Laborers Pension Fund and other Massey stockholders.
The original, sealed Delaware filings brought an unusual response from Massey, which filed a disclosure with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to dispute the suggestion that the Massey board had decided for sure that Blankenship needed to go.
"While the oral update of the committee included a recommendation that at a minimum the board of directors not re-nominate Mr. Blankenship for re-election to the board of directors ... and assess whether Mr. Blankenship as chairman of the board and chief executive provided the most viable option for Massey going forward, the independent members of Massey's board of directors did not make any decision on this matter and did not make a recommendation to the board of directors to remove Mr. Blankenship or request his resignation from his positions at Massey," Massey said in the SEC disclosure filed last week.
The new court filings also cite the deposition of Massey Board Chairman Bobby Inman in asserting that Inman believed increased enforcement at Massey operations was the result of a conspiracy between the United Mine Workers union and the Obama administration against mostly non-union Massey.
The filings also alleged that the Upper Big Branch disaster cost Massey more than $166 million in out-of-pocket costs and $320 million in lost coal revenues.
"The UBB disaster has crippled the company, and the directors have sought a quick sale of the company to avoid liability for their actions that led to the disaster," the court motion argues.
The Delaware documents were made public just one day after families of some of the miners who died at Upper Big Branch filed their own lawsuit, alleging that the Massey-Alpha deal would enrich corporate insiders, while putting at risk funds that could pay legal claims by the families.
Reach Ken Ward Jr. at kw...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1702.