Verdict reversed in Gurley rock quarry case - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Verdict reversed in Gurley rock quarry case

The town of Gurley is now off the hook for the $5-million it owed M & N Materials. The town of Gurley is now off the hook for the $5-million it owed M & N Materials.

A decade-long dispute involving a rock quarry in the town of Gurley may finally be over.

The Alabama Supreme Court handed down its decision on the case.

They not only reversed the verdict, but rendered it, meaning the town is off the hook for the $5-million it owed M & N Materials, and the case is now closed. It will not be sent back to the lower court for a new trial.

The whole thing started back in 2003 when M & N Materials bought property to begin building a rock quarry in Gurley.

The town didn't want that rock quarry and took steps to prevent it from being constructed.  One of those steps was rezoning the property for agricultural use.

The company filed a lawsuit, and last year a jury ruled in favor of M & N, leaving the town of Gurley with a bill of almost $5-million.

For over a year, the town has said it cannot pay the verdict and has been exploring bankruptcy.

However, Gurley looks to be out of the woods after Friday's ruling.

The ruling said their efforts to prevent M & N Materials from building a rock quarry did not constitute a taking of the property owned by M & N.

"The town council passed regulations that affected the property, but they did not physically interfere or take the property. That's what eminent domain is and that's what the Alabama Supreme Court ruled today," said Mark McDaniel, WAFF 48's Legal Analyst.

The decision is a big victory and a huge relief for the people living in Gurley.

"I am happy about it. I really am. I am glad we don't have to pay because it would cost a lot of money out of my pocket and we would go broke and stuff," said resident, Barbara Moss.

M & N Materials, Inc says it is now studying the court's opinions and evaluating its options. In an official statement released to WAFF 48,  the company said: "We don't plan to stop the fight because of this decision. We feel strongly about this. The potential impact on individual property rights is too important to stop pursuing the case at this point."

Copyright 2012 WAFF. All rights reserved.

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