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UMWA plan to appeal dismissal of lawsuit

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit seeking to preserve benefits for bankrupt Patriot Coal Corp.'s active and retired miners.

U.S. District Judge Joseph Goodwin on Friday sided with Peabody Energy and Arch Coal.

The United Mine Workers of America filed the lawsuit last year, saying the companies set up spinoff companies to rid themselves of their benefits obligations. The lawsuit argued they were still responsible for those benefits under the federal Employee Retirement and Income Securities Act.

But Goodwin ruled the law doesn't protect a pension fund's financial stability.

UMW President Cecil Roberts tells The Charleston Gazette the union plans to appeal.

Peabody spun off Patriot in 2007, and Patriot later acquired mines that Arch spun off into Magnum Coal. Patriot declared bankruptcy last year.

 

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