Monday, December 9, 2013

Labaton Sucharow Exposes the Massey Coal Mine Safety Cover-Up, Resulting in a $265 Million All-Cash Settlement

NEW YORK (December 9, 2013) – Labaton Sucharow LLP represents The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Board ("MA PRIM"), lead plaintiff for a class of purchasers of Massey Energy Company ("Massey") common stock. The class has reached a $265 million all-cash settlement to resolve the securities fraud claims pending in In re Massey Energy Co. Securities Litigation, No. 5:10-cv-00689 (S.D. W. Va.). The settlement, which will benefit thousands of class members, is subject to court approval.

Massey is one of the largest producers of coal in the United States, and the securities fraud claims center around Massey's misrepresentation of its safety practices, and the financial losses suffered by investors when the market learned of those misrepresentations. As alleged, Massey and its officials misled investors by regularly affirming and touting its "safety improvement initiatives" established after a deadly fire at one of its coal mines in 2006, and then in April 2010, 29 miners died in an explosion at Massey's Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia in one of the deadliest US coal mining accidents in 40 years. News of the explosion, subsequent criminal investigations and indictments, and Congressional testimony revealed that despite Massey's public statements of putting "safety first," it had in fact disregarded industry safety standards and routinely concealed safety violations from federal safety inspectors. 

"We are very pleased to achieve this settlement on behalf of investors," said Joel Bernstein, a partner at the law firm of Labaton Sucharow, which served as counsel for MA PRIM and co-lead counsel for the class together with the law firm of Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd.

"We worked hard in litigating this case vigorously to achieve this very significant settlement payment," said Chris Supple, MA PRIM's Deputy Executive Director and General Counsel, who led the litigation effort along with Michael Sweeney, Deputy General Counsel to the State Treasurer and Assistant Attorney General Matthew Gendron. "This settlement should remind corporate leaders of the importance of taking good care not only of the financial capital of their investors, but also the human capital of their employees," Supple said.