Coal Baron Files SLAPPs Against Those Who Criticize His Labor Practices

Robert Murray is a notorious coal baron who leads the country’s largest privately owned coal company, the Murray Energy Corporation. The company has been repeatedly sanctioned for failing to meet miner safety standards. Mr. Murray has close ties to President Trump.

In June 2017, Murray sued comedian John Oliver, as well as HBO and Time Warner, after Oliver devoted an episode to criticizing the coal baron’s labor practices. The ACLU of West Virginia filed an amusing amicus brief in support of Mr. Oliver. In February 2018, the court dismissed the lawsuit.

This was not the first time that Murray used SLAPP against his critics. Over the past 20 years, he has sued numerous critics–including both activists and journalists–who criticized his company. None of Murray’s SLAPPs has resulted in a successful judgment against the defendants, although some cases have reached a settlement.