UPDATE: Former Massey Coal CEO has request for hearing denied
A federal appeals court has refused to rehear the case of former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship in the deadliest U.S. mine disaster in four decades. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals handed down the order Friday. In January, a three-judge panel of the court found no error in trial rulings. Those judges rejected his argument that jury instructions made it too easy to conclude that he willfully violated safety rules at West Virginia's Upper Big Branch mine before the 2010 explosion that killed 29 men. He was convicted in 2015 of a misdemeanor charge of conspiring to willfully violate safety standards. The 66-year-old Blankenship is scheduled for release May 10 from a California federal prison where he's serving a one-year sentence.
Massey Energy was purchased by Kingsport-based Alpha Natural Resources in January 2011 for $7 billion. Alpha noted in prior bankruptcy hearings that it would not be responsible for any of Blankenship's legal fees.