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Coal companies take battle to Va. courtroom

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) A long-running legal battle between two coal companies is headed for trial in Virginia.

The Charleston Gazette says an April 21 trial is set in Grundy for a lawsuit filed by Hugh Caperton against Massey Energy.

Caperton claims his companies, Harman Mining Corp. and Sovereign Coal Sales, were financially damaged when Massey slashed the amount of coal it had agreed to buy from them.

Caperton originally sued Massey in 1998 in Boone County, W.Va. A jury awarded $50 million to Caperton in 2002 but the West Virginia Supreme Court rejected that verdict three times.

Caperton filed a new lawsuit in Buchanan County Circuit Court in Virginia in November 2010. Last year, the Supreme Court of Virginia ruled that the circuit court judge erred when he dismissed the lawsuit.

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