BNA Insights: Securities Litigation Canary in the Coal Mine: Investigation of Peabody Energy Corporation by the New York State Attorney General

Coal producers and energy producers who rely upon can learn a number of lessons from a recent investigation of Peabody Energy Corporation.

April 18, 2016

According to the Mine Safety and Health Administration:

Carbon monoxide, a potentially deadly gas devoid of color, taste or smell, can form underground during a mine fire or after a mine explosion . . . . [B]efore the availability of modern detection devices . . .[c]anaries. . .were used to alert miners to the presence of the poisonous gas. . . . . Any sign of distress from the canary was a clear signal that the conditions underground were unsafe, prompting a hasty return to the surface.

Like a caged canary in distress in a coal mine, the conclusion of the New York State Attorney General’s investigation of Peabody Energy Corporation’s securities disclosures in November 2015 should serve as an early warning to both coal producers and energy producers who rely on coal that there is danger in the air and that hasty efforts to reduce risk associated with past and future securities disclosure statements are necessary to avoid catastrophic results.

Reproduced with permission from Securities Regulation & Law Report, 48 SRLR 807, 4/18/16. Copyright ! 2016 by The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (800-372-1033)

The articles on our website include some of the publications and papers authored by our attorneys, both before and after they joined our firm. The content of these articles should not be taken as legal advice. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views or official position of Robins Kaplan LLP.


Timothy Q. Purdon


Chair, American Indian Law and Policy Group;
Co-Chair, Government and Internal Investigations Group

Nicole Frank

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