May 30, 2008

Chesapeake Energy, Diasappointed with West Virginia Supreme Court's Refusal to Hear Case, Cancels Plans for New West Virginia Headquarters

We recently blogged about the West Virginia Supreme Court's decision not to review a case involving a $404 million judgment, including $270 million in punitive damages, against energy company NiSource Inc. According to the Charleston Gazette, Chesapeake Energy, a co-defendant in that case, is so angry with the denial of review that it is canceling its plans to build a new $30 million headquarters in Charleston. A company vice president said in an official statement: "While we hold a less significant amount of the liability in the verdict, we do believe it sends a profoundly negative message about the business climate in the state. The reality of this decision is that nobody in West Virginia, similarly situated, has a guaranteed right of appeal in the judicial system."

This has all taken place after West Virginia placed dead last in a national survey of corporate lawyers about the reasonableness of each state's tort liability system. Now we know at least one company exec who isn't going to change his vote any time soon.