Tuesday, November 27, 2007

West Virginia Supreme Court overturns verdict against A.T. Massey in Harman Mining case

As reported here, the West Virginia Supreme Court overturned the $50 million plus verdict against A.T. Massey in the case of Caperton v. A.T. Massey, in a split decision. The Court held that the plaintiffs' claims were subject to a constractual forum-selection clause, specifying Virginia, not West Virginia, and that they were also barred by res judicata, based on Virginia law as applied to the now-final prior litigation in Virginia.

Check it out.

In his dissent, Justice Starcher begins: "The majority’s opinion is morally and legally wrong," and goes on to talk about Don Blankenship and his attempts to influence judicial elections in West Virginia. There's never been a dissenting opinion like it issued by the Virginia Supreme Court, surely.

As I've written before, in earlier times, several of the earliest federal judges of the Western District of Virginia came from what is now West Virginia, and but for the location of some railroad lines, some say Southwest Virginia would be in West Virginia - yet I read Justice Starcher's dissenting opinion and West Virginia seems very far away and different from here.

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