Today, U.S. District Court Judge Irene Berger sentenced former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship for conspiring to violate federal health and safety standards at the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia. Upper Big Branch exploded and killed 29 miners in April 2010. CPR Member Scholar Rena Steinzor, Professor of Law at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, issued the following statement:
"Although Mr. Blankenship won't spend much time in jail, an outcome determined by a disgracefully weak law rather than the case against him, at least he will go down in the record books as the first CEO convicted and imprisoned for causing the death of his workers because he disdained the law. This case should send a shiver down the spine of every top manager who follows the approach described by one witness: 'Run, run, run until we get caught; when we get caught, then we will fix it.'"
Read previous CPRBlog posts by Steinzor on the Blankenship case:
Blankenship Convicted in Massey Coal Mine Disaster, December 3, 2015
Blankenship Indictment 'An Example for Every Prosecutor in the Country', November 13, 2014
Don Blankenship Still Needs to Be Prosecuted, December 6, 2011
Sending Don Blankenship to Jail: A Legal Argument, May 20, 2010
CPR's Thomas McGarity blogged on the need for reforms in the wake of the disaster: