Retired West Virginia Judge to Replace Benjamin in Massey Retrial

June 16, 2009

A retired Putnam County judge has been picked to replace state Supreme Court Chief Justice Brent Benjamin on a case involving Massey Energy.

Acting chief justice Robin Davis appointed James Holliday on Thursday to serve on the five-member court that will hear Richmond, Va.-based Massey’s appeal of a $50 million judgment. The judgment stems from a contract dispute with Harman Mining Co. and its president, Hugh Caperton.

The high court ruled in Massey’s favor twice but Harman appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, saying Benjamin should have removed himself from the case.

Harmany argued that since Massey chief executive Don Blankenship spent about $3 million to support Benjamin’s 2004 campaign, the justice should have disqualified himself.

The nation’s highest court agreed.

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