Written by Your 5News Team
Last updated on November 27, 2012 @ 7:54PM
Created on November 27, 2012 @ 6:29PM
The U.S. Bankruptcy Court has decided to move the Patriot Coal bankruptcy case from New York City to St. Louis Missouri. The United Mine Workers of America is applauding this decision.
The health care benefits to retirees and their families are at stake in this case. Patriot filed for bankruptcy in July affecting about 1,500 West Virginia coal miners and about 4,000 retirees in the state. Patriot is based out of St. Louis along with Peabody Energy and Arch Coal.
Some say the companies intentionally established Patriot Coal as a subsidiary in 2007, then quietly moved all of Arch and Peabody retirees under Patriot so they could avoid their pension and health care promises when Patriot went bankrupt.
The judge's decision came after she received hundreds of hand written letters from coal miners and their families who who didn't want the case tried in a place where not an ounce of coal has been mined. The judge also referenced a lawsuit by the UMWA against Peabody and Arch to require them to live up to their promises of health care to retirees and widows.
UMWA President Cecil Roberts claims Patriot set up two dummy corporations in New York so the case could be heard in a forum far from the coal fields. Patriot said it respects the court's decision and it remains focused on reorganizing to protect the nearly 4,000 jobs at risk.
STATEMENT BY A PATRIOT COAL LAWYER, COURTESY COAL TATTOO, A CHARLESTON GAZETTE BLOG
Patriot Coal respects the Court’s decision to transfer the Company’s Chapter 11 proceedings to St. Louis, where Patriot is headquartered. We remain focused on using the reorganization process to ensure the Company’s future viability as a competitor and employer in a challenging market environment. We anticipate that the new court will become familiar with our case very quickly, and we remain committed to completing the reorganization as soon as possible and preserving the nearly 4,000 jobs at risk.
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