National Public Radio (NPR) and the Charleston Gazette filed this Opposition to a Motion to Seal the Record in a case brought by shareholders of Massey Energy Company seeking to block the sale of Massey to Alpha Natural Resources. The shareholders state court action in West Virginia was moved to the West Virginia Supreme Court in an attempt to get a preliminary injunction before the merger of the two coal companies was finalized. The shareholders, apparently as a result of the agreed protective order they endorsed to expedite discovery, requested that Massey's documents be sealed. NPR and the Charleston Gazette opposed the effort seal, pointing out that under West Virginia's Constitution and common law, as well as the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the Press and the Public have a presumptive right to access all records filed in court unless that right is modified by statute or a strong and compelling policy reason. The Intervenors point out in their pleading that this case is of heightened public interest and special significance given the fact that Massey and its Board members have been accused of wrongdoing in relation to the Upper Big Branch tragedy, and the documents sought to be sealed could shed light on the tragedy and the role Massey's Board played in the company's acts and omissions that may have led to the tragedy. It appears that Massey's upper management, most of whom refused to provide testimony in the governmental investigations of the tragedy, were compelled to testify about the company's practices in depositions that are included in the filing sought to be sealed. In addition, these documents could contain information that is important for the Public, as well as Massey's shareholders, in analyzing and understanding the proposed multi-Billion dollar transaction.
NPR and the Charleston Gazette are represented by attorneys Sean McGinley and Rudolph L. DiTrapano of the Charleston, West Virginia law firm of DiTrapano Barrett & DiPiero, PLLC.
Firefox recommends the PDF Plugin for Mac OS X for viewing PDF documents in your browser.
We can also show you Legal Updates using the Google Viewer; however, you will need to be logged into Google Docs to view them.
Please choose one of the above to proceed!
LOADING PDF: If there are any problems, click here to download the file.