Coal Tattoo

Selenium settlement or a decision from the judge?

The big selenium case before U.S. District Judge Robert C. Chambers may be headed for a settlement, or at least an early end, according to some legal filings that were just made public.

It seems that settlement negotiations resumed after yesterday’s court sessions, and early this afternoon lawyers for environmental groups and Patriot Coal asked Judge Chambers for more time to see if they could work something out.  Here’s how the judge’s clerks described what happened, according to a “daybook entry” posted in the case docket:

The parties requested that the Court set a hearing to entertain settlement or for closing arguments.

That hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Tuesday … so we’ll either hear about a settlement or the two sides will present closing arguments, and then wait for a decision from Judge Chambers.

Interestingly, the early end of the trial — evidence had been scheduled to be presented today and Friday — means that Patriot Coal won’t be putting on any evidence about its belief that selenium violations aren’t really harming aquatic life.

See previous posts on this case here and here, and a Gazette story here, and be sure to stay tuned …