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Patriot Coal bankruptcy case starts Monday

Apr. 26, 2013 @ 01:01 PM

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The United Mine Workers of America union is promising to have thousands of miners and their supporters rallying in St. Louis next week as Patriot Coal Corp.'s bankruptcy hearing goes to court.

St. Louis-based Patriot filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in July. The case is scheduled to begin Monday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in St. Louis

Patriot was spun off from another St. Louis coal company, Peabody Energy Corp., in 2007. Initially profitable, Patriot hit hard times in recent years. It blames exceptionally soft coal markets, rising costs and legacy liabilities tied to the spinoff.

Patriot is seeking drastic cuts in retiree health care benefits.

Union leaders say Patriot was set up to fail in a deliberate plan to end retiree benefit obligations. Patriot and Peabody officials deny that claim.