"Any investor who invested in Massey...knew the managerial culture it was buying into, and knew that you had people who believed that their way of doing it was better than the people charged with enforcing the law," Strine said.
Earlier this week, Strine had forced the parties in the case to file public versions of their legal briefs, revealing previously confidential testimony by various Massey and Alpha officials and a variety of internal documents about the merger.
The latest revelation from those documents was that Massey board members were warned in February 2010 by safety auditor Joe Pavlovich -- a former federal inspector who previously worked on independent reviews with longtime safety advocate Davitt McAteer -- about problems cleaning up explosive coal dust at Upper Big Branch.
Those documents indicated that Massey executives thought a plan was in place to deal with the problem. But state and federal investigators have said accumulations of coal dust fueled the April 5, 2010, explosion.
In West Virginia, the state Supreme Court has been asked to grant an emergency injunction to block the Alpha-Massey transaction.
Court officials are so far refusing to release records about the case, including a wealth of other sworn statements and internal documents about the transaction. Justices have scheduled a closed-door conference for Tuesday to consider the case and whether records about it should be made public.
Reach Ken Ward Jr. at kw...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1702.