Mediation fails to settle Massey slurry case

November 17, 2010 by Ken Ward Jr.

Shayne Fields, 19, left, and Kayla Farley, 18, both of Williamson, W.Va., drop off bottles filled with well water from their home they say was contaminated with coal slurry by Massey Energy and subsidiary Rawl Sales & Processing, prior to court hearing Monday, Nov. 15, 2010, in Charleston, W.Va. Hundreds of plaintiffs are gathering in Charleston to see if they can resolve a water pollution lawsuit against Virginia-based Massey Energy. The plaintiffs claim that Massey and subsidiary Rawl Sales & Processing have poisoned their water wells in Mingo County with 1.4 billion gallons of toxic coal slurry. They gathered at the Charleston Civic Center Monday morning for what is expected to be the start of a three-day meeting with a panel of judges. (AP Photo/Jeff Gentner)

The Associated Press reports:

A lawyer for the plaintiffs says attempts to settle a long-running water pollution lawsuit against Massey Energy Co. have failed.

Bruce Stanley represents some of the more than 700 people suing Virginia-based Massey and subsidiary Rawl Sales & Processing over coal slurry they believe polluted their well water and made them sick.

Slurry is the byproduct of washing coal to make it burn more cleanly.

Two judges on West Virginia’s mass litigation panel have been trying to mediate a settlement with Massey and its army of insurance company lawyers since Monday afternoon.

But Stanley says the attempt has failed despite the judges’ best efforts.

He says the plaintiffs look forward to taking the case to trial next summer and are confident justice awaits.

2 Responses to “Mediation fails to settle Massey slurry case”

  1. Thomas Rodd says:

    Bruce Stanley, as I understand it, is with Reed Smith in Pittsburgh, a very big law firm; and he also represents Hugh Caperton against Massey. This will be a tremendous legal battle with huge resources deployed by both sides. Massey has to be sweating some bullets on this one. Anyone else in the Coal Tattoo readership have some insights?

  2. antrim caskey says:

    @Thomas, I was at the mediation hearings last week and even though one of the judges on the two-judge Resolution Panel made a point to say it was not the way it was done in West Virgnia, it seems to me that Massey’s tactic is to deny, deny deny and delay, delay delay. AFter the judges and Supreme Court Justice Davis made a surprise visit and talk too, they made a ‘roll call ‘ of all the plaintiffs. Many of the names called out were people who have passed away already but were represented by a relative or we heard many, “the estate of…”
    It was a pathetic display really. With Massey lead counsel SEan Harvey simply denying to the press later that Massey Subsidiary Rawl Sales and Processing had anything to do with the illness that has swept through the “Communities Forgotten of Rawl, Lick Creek, Sprigg and Merrimac” in Mingo County.

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