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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Price of Justice: a True Story of Greed and Corruption

I have just finished reading the new nonfiction book by Laurence Leamer, The Price of Justice: a True Story of Greed and Corruption. The cover has a quote from John Grisham, "Superb, this is a book I wish I had written."
It's a riveting account of how a thuggish coal baron named Don Blankenship has raped and pillaged the people and countryside of West Virgina, and how two lawyers have spent more than a decade trying to bring him to justice. The lawyers are David Fawcett and Bruce Stanley from Pittsburg. They represented a businessman named Hugh Caperton, who owned a coal mine and his biggest customer was one of Blankenship's companies. Blankenship not only breached a long term contract, he set out to deliberately destroy Caperton's company. When he lost the jury trial, he spent millions to get his handpicked flunkies elected to the W. Va. Supreme Court. He vacationed with one judge and their far younger girlfriends in France. Meanwhile, they all cut a deal with Robin Jean Davis, the chief justice, whose husband is the biggest plaintiff's lawyer in the state. The other judges ruled in his favor, and she sold her soul to sell justice down the river.

The case ended up at the Supreme Court, who ruled 5/4 that one judge, a flunkie named Brent Benjamin, should have recused himself after he got over $2MM from Blankenship.

Blankenship continued to run over the people of W. Va., and his flagrant disregard of safety caused a mine disaster that killed almost 30 men. Meanwhile, his illegal dumping of toxic wastes poisoned the water tables, causing untold misery and grief.

This really is a great book.

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