From the State Journal:
U.S. District Judge Irene Berger has denied 94 individual requests for restitution from former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship.
The restitution claims came from people who had been identified as potential victims in the case, including former Upper Big Branch mine employees and family members of those who lost their lives in the explosion.
"The Declarations of Victim Loss that seek restitution from Mr. Blankenship run the gamut," defense attorney Blair Brown wrote in the March 1 motion. "None, however, state a viable claim for restitution. All of them should be denied."
Siding with the defense, Berger ruled April 5 that "none of the claims for restitution satisfy the 'direct and proximate' causation requirement."
"The overwhelming majority of these claims for restitution explicitly link the claimed losses to the Upper Big Branch explosion on April 5, 2010," she added. "The cause of that explosion was not at issue in this case, as the Court repeatedly instructed the jury during trial."
The decision comes just a day after Berger denied Alpha Natural Resources' request for nearly $28 million in restitution from the former coal boss.I met Blankenship once. He struck me as a capitalist, which in America today makes you an enemy of the state. Blaming him for a disaster that killed 29 miners is ghoulish, as sad as that tragedy was and is. His conviction in federal court was merely a reflection of a politically ambitious U.S. attorney -- Booth Goodwin, now a Democratic candidate for governor -- and the near limitless power of the federal government. It will be interesting to see if the U.S. Supreme Court upholds this nonsense. I gave up on the court having any honor after the Obamacare decision. My interest is merely in where the dart lands on dartboard they use to decide judicial matters.