Alabama Supreme Court again rules for Gurley in long-running quarry dispute with M&N Materials

Gurley quarry lawsuitA permit sign attached to trees in foreground with Gurley Mountain rising in the background marks the proposed site for the long-disputed quarry shown here in February 2011. (Huntsville Times file photo)

MONTGOMERY, Alabama — The Alabama Supreme Court has reaffirmed its December ruling in favor of the Town of Gurley in its long-running legal battle with MN Materials over the proposed development of a rock quarry.

The Supreme Court’s December ruling reversed a Madison County jury award of $5 million to MN in 2011.

MN had convinced jurors that the steps the town had taken to block the quarry’s development was a regulatory “taking” and they were entitled to damages for lost income.  The jury found for MN Materials won a $2.75 million verdict,
plus 6 percent interest. The interest owed was just over $1 million, according to
court records. The company is owned by developers Brian McCord and
Brian Nelson.

MN’s lawyers were also awarded fees of $1.1 million.

But the Supreme Court reversed that ruling in December. The court later agreed to grant oral arguments in the case after MN was joined by several powerful Alabama groups including Huntsville’s G.W. Jones Sons Consulting Engineers, the Jones-Lowe Company and Raymond G. Jones, in its petition to the Supreme Court in seeking a rehearing. That filing argued that the court’s decision would severely hamper economic development and should be reversed.

The court heard oral arguments from the two sides in May.

But in today’s decision the court again found that Alabama law does not support MN’s condemnation claims.

Following the 2011 jury verdict Gurley officials said they could not pay the judgment and began exploring the possibility of the town declaring bankruptcy. The court’s decision in December was hailed by town officials as a Christmas gift.

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