Paul J. Nyden and the Charleston Gazette continue the coverage of the West Virginia coal industry's widespread practice where "large coal companies used small contractors to avoid paying debts, including tens of millions of dollars to the Workers' Compensation Fund." Nyden was the first to discover this practice in 1993, and in 1996 the state began filing suits against some companies. "In October 2001, a county circuit judge effectively re-instated them." Then in December 2001, "many companies agreed to settle their suits. The first set of settlements, announced on January 9 , brought $50 million to the state."