The former CEO of Massey Energy Co., now owned by Alpha Natural Resources, is entitled to have the company advance him payment for his legal fees associated with a criminal case filed against him over a coal mine explosion that killed 29 people in 2010, Chancellor Andre G. Bouchard has ruled.

Donald Blankenship, the chief executive officer of Massey at the time of the explosion, took retirement at the end of 2010, about eight months after the explosion. The following year, Alpha acquired Massey and for several years honored the rights to advancement in Blankenship’s contract for various civil proceedings and a criminal investigation following the explosion, according to Bouchard’s opinion.

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