Articles by Vicki Smith

Investors Ask West Virginia Supreme Court to Reopen Case Against Massey

Institutional shareholders in the former Massey Energy Co. want the state Supreme Court to revive a lawsuit they filed two weeks after the Upper Big Branch mine disaster. Lawyers for the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, Amalgamated Bank and Manville …

West Virginia Says Resort Owner’s Illegal Dam Is Flood Hazard

Billionaire coal company and resort owner Jim Justice is in a war of words with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection over an illegally built dam at a gated golf course community, a 17-foot-high structure that regulators say presents …

Environmental Groups Sue Landowners Over Mountaintop Mining in West Virginia

Environmental activists say three reclaimed mountaintop removal mining sites are still polluting West Virginia waterways, and they’re suing the current landowners in a novel attempt to stop it. The lawsuits filed in U.S. District Court in Huntington say state and …

New Lawsuit Filed Against West Virginia University in Degree Scandal

Two former business school deans caught up in a master’s degree scandal six years ago are suing West Virginia University again, arguing the school has ignored its obligation to repair their tarnished reputations. Former dean Stephen Sears and former associate …

Insurers Pay $600K in Small Town West Virginia Racism Case

Insurance companies will pay $600,000 to a former officer who sued the Sophia Police Department over claims he was harassed and fired because he is black, Mayor Danny Barr said. That payout is more than the small West Virginia town’s …

Research Panel Recommends Steps to Help Mine Workers Escape in Emergencies

Federal regulators and safety officials should consider requiring more backup air supplies and work to develop better breathing devices that would help the nation’s coal miners escape underground emergencies, a panel of experts said in a new report. The report …

West Virginia Cites 45 Violations After 2 Deaths at Mine

State inspectors have issued 45 violations at a West Virginia coal mine since two men died there earlier this month, including one for negligently rigging the switch on a hoist with a piece of wood and a rusty bolt, according …

West Virginia Court Rules Negligent Mine Inspectors Can Be Sued

Private and federal mine safety inspectors can be held liable and sued when a negligent inspection results in the wrongful death of a coal miner, the state Supreme Court ruled in handing a victory to the widows of two men …

Former Massey Mine Executive to Enter Plea Next Month

A former president of Massey Energy’s White Buck Coal Co. will enter a plea on federal conspiracy charges in January as prosecutors continue to investigate the 2010 explosion at another Massey operation that killed 29 men. David C. Hughart is …

West Virginia Mine Blast Probe Widens, Top Executives Could Be Next

Federal prosecutors investigating the West Virginia mine explosion that killed 29 men have widened their net, filing criminal charges against a longtime Massey Energy executive who worked closely with former CEO Don Blankenship — a move signaling where their sights …