Former Massey Energy Company Directors Win Dismissal of Contempt Proceeding

September 12, 2013

On September 12, 2013, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of a contempt proceeding brought against the former directors of Massey Energy Company, which Cleary Gottlieb’s client Alpha Natural Resources acquired in 2011. The Court affirmed the Circuit Court’s rulings that (i) the contempt petitioners’ claims were derivative and supposedly for the benefit of Massey, (ii) Delaware law determined the standing of shareholders of a Delaware corporation to sue derivatively on behalf of the corporation, and (iii) under Delaware law petitioners lost standing to pursue any derivative claims upon the closing of the Alpha merger.