The petition outlined the shareholder groups' allegation that Massey board chairman Bobby Inman pushed Crutchfield to promise jobs for Massey vice president of operations Chris Adkins and general counsel Shane Harvey.
Independent investigator Davitt McAteer has questioned whether Adkins should be hired by Alpha, given his supervision of the Upper Big Branch Mine and Massey's Aracoma Alma No. 1 Mine, where two workers died in a January 2006 fire and a Massey subsidiary admitted criminal safety violations.
Adkins and Harvey are running Massey's internal investigation of Upper Big Branch, the court petition says, a probe that has so far led the company to argue that Upper Big Branch was a natural disaster.
Also, the petition says that Inman and Crutchfield worked out a deal to ensure Alpha provided continued jobs for Chris Blanchard and Jason Whitehead, the two Massey officials who were running Upper Big Branch at the time of the explosion.
The petition notes that Blanchard and Whitehead - out of 5,800 Massey employees at 56 different mines - were specifically discussed during phone calls between Inman and Crutchfield.
"I pledged that none of these names would pose a problem," Crutchfield said in an email message memorializing an Oct. 1, 2010, discussion with Inman, the court filing says.
Lawyers for the Massey shareholders told the Supreme Court that this "secret pact" amounted to Massey and Alpha protecting the Massey executives "most culpable for participating in (or covering up) illegal conduct implicated in the UBB disaster."
In a response, Massey lawyers told the Supreme Court that the allegations were false and that controlling Massey's internal investigation would not help corporate insiders anyway.
"The ability to control Massey's internal investigation would have no effect on the defendants' potential liability ... since the findings of that investigation would not preclude other, outside investigations from reaching different conclusions and assigning culpability regardless of what Massey's own findings are," the company's lawyers wrote.
More complete lawsuit documents that detail events leading up to the merger remain sealed, with a hearing on their status scheduled for 1:30 p.m. today in King's courtroom. The Charleston Gazette and NPR have filed a motion seeking to have the records opened to the public.
Reach Ken Ward Jr. at kw...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1702.