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Blame it on trial ad: love blossoms in Lugar Courtroom

MORGANTOWN, WEST VIRGINIA—Within the panelled walls of the Marlyn E. Lugar Courtroom at the West Virginia University College of Law, students learn from experienced professors and legal scholars deliver insightful lectures.

In Lugar Courtroom, surrounded by portraits of former West Virginia Supreme Court justices, is also where two law alumni recently declared their love and life-long commitment to each other in the form of a marriage proposal.

That is what happened on September 30, 2014, when Joe Fabie ‘14 proposed to Christi Fraser ‘13 in the very courtroom where they first met two years earlier—and she said “Yes.”

“I wanted it to be a surprise and I wanted it to be some place that had a special meaning for both of us,” said Joe. “We met at the law school, our relationship flourished there, and that’s where we fell in love—so I thought that would be the perfect place to propose.”

Professor McGinley says Massey CEO indictment is unprecedented

MORGANTOWN, WEST VIRGINIA—The recent federal indictment of former Massey Energy chief Donald L. Blankenship for violating health and safety laws is unprecedented says a West Virginia University law professor who contributed to a 2011 state report on the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster that found the company directly responsible for the blast that killed 29 miners in 2010. 

Massey owned the Upper Big Branch mine where a methane gas explosion spread through two miles of tunnel, killing the miners. 

“Those responsible for managing mines in a way that caused multiple deaths were never held responsible,” Patrick McGinley, the Charles H. Haden II Professor of Law, told The New York Times. “It shocks the conscience.”

The explosion fed on illegally high levels of coal dust, according to reports, and federal prosecutors have accused Blankenship of ignoring health and safety laws to maximize profits while covering up violations.

McGinley served as a member of then-Gov. Joe Manchin’s investigative team that explored the failure of basic coal mine safety practices at the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster.

McGinley is available to the media to offer commentary on the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster, the indictment of Blankenship, as well as mine safety issues, black lung and the environmental impact of mining operations. McGinley can be reached via email at or by phone at 304-293-6823.

Professor Fershee is author of new energy law textbook

MORGANTOWN, WEST VIRGINIA —West Virginia University College of Law professor Joshua Fershee is the author of a new textbook on energy law. 

“Energy Law: A Context and Practice Casebook” (Carolina Academic Press, 2014) covers energy-focused topics such as economic regulations, mineral rights, market structures, and environmental concerns.

“Energy law is actually kind of hard to define, and one of the things that I think my book helps show is that it’s . . . an amalgam of a variety of different areas,” said Fershee in an interview with New Books in Law.

“Energy Law: A Context and Practice Casebook” is part of the Context and Practice Series, edited by Michael Hunter Schwartz, Professor of Law and Dean of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Bowen School of Law.

Fershee joined the faculty of WVU Law in fall 2012 as part of the Center for Energy and Sustainable Development and the WVU Shale Gas Initiative. His research and scholarship focus primarily on energy law and business law. He is director of WVU’s LL.M. in energy and sustainable development law.


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