Harman points to poll numbers, asks for Benjamin recusal again

A bankrupt coal company and its president again are asking state Supreme Court Justice Brent Benjamin to recuse himself from its case against Massey Energy.

And this time, they have commissioned a poll to help make their point.

On Friday, Harman Mining Corporation and Hugh M. Caperton renewed their disqualification motion because, as the motion states, Massey CEO Don Blankenship and others "expended mover $3.5 million to help Justice Benjamin's election to this court" in 2004. The motion includes the results of a telephone survey that shows 67 percent of those polled don't think Benjamin could be impartial in this case.

While he hasn't responded to the latest request, Benjamin previously has refused to step aside in this case. In February, Benjamin refused to step aside in the Harman and Wheeling-Pitt cases involving Masssey.

Interviewees were also asked whether the three and a half million dollars spent by the head of Massey Energy to help elect Justice Benjamin creates doubt in their minds that Justice Benjamin will be fair and impartial in the two cases. Sixty-seven percent (when asked about the Harman case) and 68 percent (when asked about the Wheeling-Pitt case) say they have doubts that Justice Benjamin will be fair and impartial.”

— American Research Interviewing - a spinoff company of Talmey-Drake