After a month-long trial, a Brooke County Circuit Court jury has ordered Massey Energy and a subsidiary to pay more than $219 million in damages to Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Corporation. Wheeling-Pitt sued Massey subsidiary Central West Virginia Energy Co. in April 2005, claiming it failed to deliver 104,000 tons of metallurgical grade coal per month as required under a contract signed in 2002 that runs until 2010.
Wheeling-Pitt’s lawsuit alleged that Central West Virginia Energy blamed production problems for its failure to deliver as required by the contract. However, Wheeling-Pitt claims that the Massey subsidiary started diverting coal from its contract to the spot market in an effort to make more money.
The jury ordered Massey and Central West Virginia Energy to pay Wheeling-Pitt $119.8 million in compensatory damages, as well as $50 million each in punitive damages from both parties. Wheeling-Pitt’s attorney stated that, “When the price of coal went up, Massey started cheating Wheeling-Pitt by shorting it and sending its coal abroad and making millions of dollars.” Massey’s executive vice president, Baxter Phillips, claimed that the company “will most certainly appeal.”
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