W. Va.'s chief justice will no longer hear cases

Chris Rizo May 14, 2008, 4:37pm


CHARLESTON, W. Va. (Legal Newsline)-West Virginia Chief Justice Elliott "Spike" Maynard will no longer be hearing cases since he lost his re-election bid Tuesday.

Maynard, who was running for a second 12-year term, has drawn criticism for vacationing on the on the French Riviera with a corporate executive who had appeals pending before the high court.

Scandal erupted around Maynard after photographs emerged of him vacationing in France and Monaco in the summer of 2006 with Don Blankenship, the chief executive of coal producer Massey Energy.

After the trip, Maynard voted in favor of Massey in a case involving a $50 million jury verdict against the coal company. The case was reheard after Maynard recused himself when the photos were released by ABC News.

Massey won the case; the plaintiff in the case, Harman Development Corporation, is appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Despite raising the most money in the race, Maynard finished third in a field of four candidates in the Democratic primary.

Only the top two candidates-former state Supreme Court Justice Margaret Workman and lawyer Menis Ketchum- will be on the ballot in the fall.

The two Democratic nominees for the two open seats on the high court will face sole Republican challenger Beth Walker in November.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo by e-mail at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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