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Judge dismisses UMWA from Massey defamation lawsuit

A Virginia judge has dismissed the United Mine Workers of America from a lawsuit that accused the union and two other defendants of defaming Massey Energy and its president, Don Blankenship.Fairfax County Circuit Judge Dennis Smith on Friday granted a motion by the union and its president, Cecil Roberts, to dismiss the claims against them. However, Smith's order was without prejudice, which means the company and Blankenship can amend and refile their claims. Smith gave the plaintiffs 21 days to file an amended lawsuit.

Ben Chew, an attorney representing Richmond, Virginia-based Massey and Blankenship, says the company will file an amended complaint.

West Virginia Consumers for Justice, a political advocacy group, and The Charleston Gazette remain as defendants. They also have asked Smith to dismiss the claims against them.

Blankenship and Massey sued the UMWA and West Virginia Consumers for Justice in June, alleging defamation. Also as part of the lawsuit, Blankenship -- but not his company -- is suing the newspaper. The lawsuit seeks more than $300 million dollars in damages.


Source: UMWA Press Release

Virginia court dismisses Massey-Blankenship suit against the United Mine Workers of America and International President Cecil Roberts

On August 26, 2005, a Fairfax County, Va. judge dismissed a defamation suit filed by Massey Energy Co. and its CEO, Don Blankenship, against the United Mine Workers of America and its International President, Cecil E. Roberts.

"This is the latest indication that Don Blankenship and Massey Energy won't be successful in their attempt to bully the UMWA and the citizens of West Virginia into silence," said Roberts. "It would appear from the judge's ruling that ‘The Donald' and his multi-million dollar law firm are confused about just how he was defamed. We will continue to vigorously contest this suit if it is re-filed, and we're confident we will continue to prevail."

The lawsuit, which sought damages for statements allegedly harmful to Massey's business and to the company's and Blankenship's reputation, was dismissed without prejudice after the Fairfax County judge found that Massey had not presented a sufficient basis for the defamation case in its complaint. The plaintiffs have 21 days to file an amended complaint, which in Virginia is called a motion for judgement.


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