A federal appeals court overturned a bankruptcy judge’s decision and ruled that St. Louis-based coal producer Peabody Energy remains obligated to continue health care benefits for some 3,100 retirees of one of the company’s former holdings. Creve Coeur-based Patriot earlier this year sued Peabody, seeking to ensure its former parent company didn’t try to use the bankruptcy to avoid the debated health care obligations to the retirees. Both the United Mine Workers of America and Patriot Coal applauded the decision.
Peabody said the bankruptcy appeals panel did not rule on the level of funding required to meet its future obligations. Earlier this week, the judge gave Patriot the go-ahead to put in place an agreement with the United Mine Workers that restores most wage cuts Patriot had sought, maintains pension benefits for thousands of retirees, and allows active employees to continue earning pension credit.