Caperton Denouement


A jury awarded a former coal company $4 million on Friday after finding that Massey Energy Co. drove it out of business through an elaborate scheme 16 years ago, closing a chapter in a long-running legal battle that embroiled West Virginia’s judiciary and reached the U.S. Supreme Court.

The verdict fell far short of the $90 million in compensatory damages sought by plaintiffs who have been fighting the case against Massey since 1998.

Hugh Caperton first sued Massey that year, alleging that then-Chief Executive Don Blankenship directed company officials to illegally break a coal-supply contract and take other action that forced Mr. Caperton’s company, Harman Mining Corp., to declare bankruptcy.

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