Section 9-1-6

Declaration of public policy and legislative intent; measure of damages for the unauthorized removal of coal; retroactive application of section.

(a) The objective of this section is to specify the measure of damages for the unauthorized removal of coal in Alabama. It is declared that the extraction of coal provides a major present and future source of energy and is an essential and necessary activity which contributes to the economic and material well-being of the state. In the absence of a reasonable measure of damages as specified in this section, confusion could result in the coal industry causing financial distress and unemployment, and may cause the abandonment and prevent the use of many coal mines. This state has a public interest in removing this hazard and precluding this confusion and distress without doing violence to private rights.

(b) The measure of damages in any civil action for the unauthorized extraction, severance, injury or removal of coal from land, including but not limited to, action for trespass or conversion, when the extraction, severance, injury or removal is in good faith shall be the fair market value of the coal in place before severance as of the time of extraction, severance, injury or removal. The fair market value of the coal in place shall be calculated as the royalty rate prevailing at the time and place of severance.

The measure of damages in all other civil actions for the unauthorized extraction, severance, injury or removal of coal from land, including but not limited to, actions for trespass or conversion, shall be the fair market value of the coal after severance, at the time and place of severance, without allowance for labor and expenses.

(c) This article shall apply to causes of action and actions then existing or thereafter arising when this article becomes effective.

(Acts 1983, No. 83-608, p. 945, §§ 1-3.)