In one of the more consequential legal decisions of recent times, Magistrate Judge Kelly Rankin ruled recently that she would not strike part of a complaint filed by shareholder activists against Peabody Energy Corporation, which allegedly had the activists arrested in 2013 outside a Peabody shareholders’ meeting.
What was the offending material? One verse from John Prine’s 1971 song, “Paradise:”
And daddy won’t you take me back to Muhlenberg County
Down by the Green River where Paradise lay?
Well, I’m sorry my son, but you’re too late in asking
Mister Peabody’s coal train has hauled it away.
And what’s the significance of this decision to environmental law? Other than perhaps providing evidence of how sensitive coal companies are to public criticism, none. However, it seemed like a great opportunity to feature one of my favorite songs in this space.