OLD Media Moves

Coal company sues reporter, paper for libel

September 3, 2012

Posted by Chris Roush

A coal mine operator is suing a West Virginia newspaper and reporter for libel.

Erica Peterson of WFPL writes, “Murray Energy Corporation filed suit against environment reporter Ken Ward Jr. and the Charleston Gazette last month, andthe case was recently transferred to federal district court. The complaint is on behalf of Murray Energy, its subsidiaries, and owner Bob Murray.

“According to the complaint, an article Ward posted on his popular ‘Coal Tattoo’ blog was libelous. Murray claims the blog post — called ‘Mitt Romney, Murray Energy and Coal Criminals’ — has damaged his reputation and business and thus put the jobs Murray Energy provides in Belmont County, Ohio in jeopardy.

“In the post, Ward mentions a fundraiser Murray held for Mitt Romney. He also mentions the Crandall Canyon Mine disaster in Utah. Crandall Canyon was operated by a Murray Energy subsidiary, and the company pleaded guilty to criminal mine safety violations for the accident that killed six miners and three rescue workers in August 2007. Ward also cites an Associated Press article that reports another Murray subsidiary in Ohio pleaded guilty to criminal violations of the Clean Water Act last month.

“The complaint says the ‘false and defamatory manner’ of the post is ‘affirmatively stating and clearly implying’ that Murray, Murray Energy and the company’s subsidiaries are criminals.”

Read more here.

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