His conflict with Blankenship culminated in a case that has become an icon of damaged justice. They were seeking justice not only for Caperton but also for hundreds of exploited miners and their families. The first, Dave Fawcett, worked for a prestigious firm but had never quite measured up to his dad. His eventual partner, Bruce Stanley, was a humble West Virginia boy trying to both escape from and vindicate his roots.
Together they were a duo of goofy do-gooders — Fawcett celebrated one victory by rolling on the grass outside court — taking on a terribly dangerous opponent in Blankenship.
But the story moves, driven by a sense of injustice that seems heartfelt. At one point Fawcett is scouting out a sad little town where a hearing is to be held. He notes that, back in Pittsburgh, the lords of the steel industry at least dressed things up with fancy museums and libraries. Fawcett was a Republican perfectly comfortable with what he viewed as the natural inequalities among men, but this was different. Billions of dollars had been taken out of these hills, but what had the people gotten except gravel?
As he walked these coarse streets, he recognized that the Caperton case was not really just about Hugh Caperton and the Harman mine. It was about this region and what had gone wrong.
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Caperton wins when things look hopeless, has setbacks when things seem assured — and through it all, the level of villainy attributed to Blankenship is stupefying. The decision was so obviously biased that it ended up before the US Supreme Court in , Caperton v. The whole thing so wacky and absurd that when John Grisham wrote a novel based on the situation and went on the Today show to promote it, Matt Lauer asked him if it was a little far-fetched.
But it sometimes felt like Leamer was playing up the down-home West Virginia stereotypes -- the number of times he referred to a "hollow" irritated me. It also felt a little like he had an axe to grind against Blankenship. I completely agree with that direction that axe is pointed, but I worried a little that he wasn't being quite as objective as he needed to be in order to effectively make his arguments. Finally, I think he published this book far too soon; the criminal indictments for the Upper Big Branch Mine explosion are still playing out as I write this review and I think that information should have been included in here.
Still, this book is worth a read, simply because it shines a light on just how corrupt our legal system can be. When there's so much money at stake and when it's all about whose back can be scratched by whom, is it possible to obtain true, unbiased "justice"? It's all pretty disheartening. The worst part is that Massey continued using the same shady practices to intentionally harm other companies, even while fighting this case.
The lawyers who fought Caperton have both sued Massey -- together and individually -- multiple times, and very little changed until 29 miners died. Even then, not that much has changed.
The Price of Justice: A True Story of Greed and Corruption
The same symptoms have allowed other companies to run amok in West Virginia. There's very little national coverage because who cares that a bunch of hillbillies have no drinking water? Who cares that companies deny for years that they've knowingly given a bunch of hillbillies cancer? Without that kind of attention, West Virginia will continue to suffer, and that breaks my heart because those are my friends and my family, their friends and their families.
Feb 13, Shawn rated it it was amazing. I received an advance copy of this book via a Goodreads Givewaway. Massey, an epic legal battle that began in the coal fields of West Virginia and ended in at the United States Supreme Court. A seasoned writer, Leamer does a remarkable job in briskly chronicling this long, complex legal battle.
A less elegant book might have gotten bogged down the minutiae of the legal Full disclosure: A less elegant book might have gotten bogged down the minutiae of the legal proceedings, but The Price of Justice holds the reader's attention by telling the story in dramatic, human terms. It's a page-turner in the best possible sense of that term, and I can't recommend it enough. Feb 01, Erin rated it really liked it Shelves: Blankenship's business practices were questionable and it came to light when Hugh Caperton, the owner of Harman Mining, was destroyed and went bankrupt because of him.
Throughout the trial, Blankenship's negligence also was detected when there were many deaths in the coal mines directly related to the disregard of safety measures t A very well written and thoroughly researched account of two lawyers, David Fawcett III and Bruce Stanley, who stood up to Don Blankenship, the head of Massey Energy.
Throughout the trial, Blankenship's negligence also was detected when there were many deaths in the coal mines directly related to the disregard of safety measures that were suppose to be applied. The two lawyers fought Blankenship all the way up to the U. This book was very interesting and I really enjoyed it.
The determination of these two men to fight for what they felt was right was very inspiring. I really liked that there was a cast of characters in the beginning of the book. There were so many people introduced in this book that the cast really helped me keep straight who was who. I received a copy of this book for free through Goodreads First Reads. Jun 07, Kendra rated it really liked it Shelves: For over fifteen years, in courtrooms small and large, a slurry of lawsuits centered on the actions of a larger-than-life CEO of a large coal company.
The Price of Justice chronicles this real-life drama through the perspective of the two prosecuting attorneys who spent countless hours in their pursuit to bring Don Blankenship to justice. The lawyers worked to show through the stories of victims who came forward over the years what can happen when a company gets too big and when a leader becomes For over fifteen years, in courtrooms small and large, a slurry of lawsuits centered on the actions of a larger-than-life CEO of a large coal company.
The lawyers worked to show through the stories of victims who came forward over the years what can happen when a company gets too big and when a leader becomes too powerful. In trying to bring about justice for their clients, the lawyers uncovered corruption among judges. The discovery of judicial corruption elevated this case to the Supreme Court of the United States.
For those who love crime fiction, such as The Appeal by John Grisham, this is a must read, due not only to the page-turning events of the various cases taken on by the attorneys but also by the fact that the lawsuits, the actions, and the people introduced in the narrative are real. Jul 12, Peter Range rated it it was amazing. A gripping legal thriller that is not only compelling but important.
This book captures a critical piece of recent history in a saga that is continuing in the courts. Superb reporting and writing. Jun 05, Robert Federline rated it really liked it. This is an excellent book about corruption in the coal mining industry, and a few brave souls who dared to stand against it. Although a true story, the book reads very much like a novel. The writing is mostly crisp and fresh and face-paced.
In the interest of full-disclosure, it must be noted that I am personally acquainted with one of the lawyers named, David Fawcett. With that said, the major flaws I find in the book involve the author's description of him and of his relationship with his fathe This is an excellent book about corruption in the coal mining industry, and a few brave souls who dared to stand against it. With that said, the major flaws I find in the book involve the author's description of him and of his relationship with his father.
His late father was a true gentleman of the law, and their relationship was closer than the reader is led to believe. Additionally, anyone who knows David Fawcett and his skills as a lawyer should be offended by the stilted description of him as being slow on his feet, and unable to swiftly match wits with others in the courtroom.
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The meat of the story, however, is moving and rings very true. The corruption in the coal mining industry is believable, and the overflow into the legal system of such corruption is sadly too familiar. What is more unique is the willingness and effort of members of large law firms to stand against such corruption, rather than participating in it.
The wheels of the law grind slowly. It takes great courage and stamina to stay the course and to face steep odds against you. That courage is compellingly recounted for attorneys Dave Fawcett and Bruce Stanley, as well as former coal executive, Hugh Caperton. These three men strive heroically against the entrenched power of Don Blankenship and the A.
The Price of Justice
Massey Coal Company in a fight to serve justice, rather than private greed. When opposing the established power in a region, you must fight not only to present the truth and facts, but to overcome the fear and prejudice of those that are held in thrall by the reigning power. Those holding power also have tremendous political influence which weights the scales of justice against all who oppose them. Don Blankenship was not content, however, to rely solely upon his past victories and reputation; he also sought to directly influence those who are supposed to be the servants of justice.
To that end, he spent enormous amounts of money to influence a judicial election, resulting in a precedent-setting United States Supreme Court opinion. It is to their credit that Fawcett, Stanley and Caperton persevered to take the case all the way to the Supreme Court. It is an even sadder commentary, however, that corruption can still prevail even in the face of a chastisement by the highest court in the land. Integrity should never be for sale. When it is, as this book movingly demonstrates, the Price of Justice may demand everything from you.
Jun 17, Thomas Stevenson rated it liked it. If this was a mystery you might think the author's imagination was too creative. In fact this is a real story - a very long one - with many twists and turns. But this is also a story of the US legal system and why so many issues linger in the courts and why injustices are common. The author has been a frequent interview guest but this does not take away from the actual story of two lawye If this was a mystery you might think the author's imagination was too creative.
The author has been a frequent interview guest but this does not take away from the actual story of two lawyers attempts to get justice for their clients. It also explains what it takes to get a case before the Supreme Court. Aug 07, Erin rated it really liked it Shelves: This is nearly impossible to review.
I know a number of the central characters, a couple fairly well. I was one of the many lawyers in one of the cases discussed near the end. I agreed with parts, disagreed with parts, and thought it was all very well-written, if very one sided which, to be fair, is made clear from the title. And I shall say no more. Aug 07, Donna rated it it was amazing.
There are many excellent, comprehensive reviews- so, my 2 cents worth is a series of superlative adjectives: I now have two more heroes on my Appalachian Mountains list: Dave Fawcett and Bruce Stanley. Jun 16, Ruth rated it really liked it. As compelling as any nonfiction story of years of court battles could possibly be. Leamer creates characters the reader really cares about. Anyone who doesn't understand how our judicial system really works is in for an eye opener. Highly recommend this one,. Apr 05, Daniela Leamer rated it it was amazing.
This was a riveting book and an important book in that it highlights a case of outrageous corporate abuse of money and power and these two lawyers' quest to hold the CEO of Massey Energy accountable for his actions through our court system. May 18, Meno rated it really liked it. This is a legal thriller about greed and corruption. Unfortunately, it is a true account of events I followed with horror as they were happening. Well written fast paced narrative about the control exercised by the coal industry in West Virginia.
Jul 06, Jack rated it it was amazing Shelves: Extremely well-written account of the way that justice is for sale in our country. If this doesn't wake us up to the abuses of power that still exist in this country, I don't know what will. Highly recommended read for everyone. Mar 16, Mitzi Cyrus rated it it was amazing. This book is so well written; it reads easily, like fiction, and I wish it were fiction.
What is most disconcerting is that Blankenship is now running in the Republican primary race for a seat in the US Senate. It is unfortunate that his conviction for conspiring to violate federal mine safety standards was not deemed a felony; if it had been we would This book is so well written; it reads easily, like fiction, and I wish it were fiction.
It is unfortunate that his conviction for conspiring to violate federal mine safety standards was not deemed a felony; if it had been we would be spared having to watch his run for an office that should require at least an element of respectability. I strongly encourage any West Virginian who plans to vote for a senator to read this book. Jun 21, Bill Shannon rated it liked it.
It isn't the author's fault that the book was published BEFORE Don Blankenship went to prison, but there is something that somehow feels unsatisfying about the resolution, or lack thereof. That said, the book is extremely well written, and functions beautifully as a piece of political agitprop regarding the swamp of West Virginia politics. It's a very interesting and engaging book, and yet because it's real life, didn't have the ending I was hoping for.
- THE PRICE OF JUSTICE A True Story of Greed and Corruption By Laurence Leamer - The Washington Post.
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- THE PRICE OF JUSTICE A True Story of Greed and Corruption By Laurence Leamer.
- The Price of Justice: A True Story of Greed and Corruption by Laurence Leamer.
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May 23, Shiela Rozich rated it really liked it. The convoluted and confusing world of the American legal system has always been an enigma for me. Though there are many excellent legal fiction writers, finding a non-fiction that can bridge the gap between legalese and fiction is very welcoming. The legal system is still a mystery to me but Laurence Leamer does a commendable job of presenting this story so a lay-person could read it without falling asleep. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Eh, it was interesting, but slow to read in places. Jun 03, BeckyTalbot rated it really liked it Shelves: Some heavy-handed editorializing detracted from this book's timely, important content. In both, the CEO of a major corporation makes huge contributions to the campaign coffers of a candidate for the state supreme court, with the expectation that the pending appeal of a large jury verdict against him will be overturned by a more "friendly" court. And as in both books, this is exactly what happens For those who've read John Grisham's "The Appeal", you'll find the essence of that story to be the same as " The Price of Justice: And as in both books, this is exactly what happens.
Unfortunately, as opposed to Grisham's fictional novel, we can't just walk away thinking, well, it's just a story, since Leamer's narrative is a true story. Because Leamer's book is factual, he didn't have the luxury and flexibility to make his book quite as engaging as Grisham's novel, but that's one of differences between fiction and non-fiction. Nonetheless, " The Price of Justice " is thoroughly researched and engaging, describing the personal interaction of David Fawcett and Bruce Stanley, lawyers for the plaintiffs, and defendant Don Blakenship, head of a major Appalachian coal company, Massey Energy.
The book details the environmental damages, coal mining disasters, litigation, legal delays, and appeals of the law suits attempting to hold Blakenship accountable for his unjust, unsafe and illegal business practices. When you finish the book, it's hard not to think about the influence of big money in influencing elections, and the need for campaign finance reform. Feb 18, Linda Munro rated it liked it. This book is billed as a nonfiction legal thriller, I am sorry to say, I did not agree.
The introduction was fast paced and had me believing that I would be reading a thriller, after that, I found the book was only good enough to keep reading a chapter here and there. Although, I have to say, when I attempted to tell my husband about the book, he knew immediately who the central character was; in fact, he spit out the name before I had even finished my first sentence.
He then proceeded to tell me exactly what the book was about; I guess that must mean he watches more news programs and documentaries than I do, because he had the entire story correct. I am only giving this book 3 stars, because I though the writer could have and should have continued the story in the same language that he had written the introduction, rather than writing the book as if he was part reporter, part novelist.
This is a story that everyone needs to read, contemplate, research and contemplate some more.