H. B. 4345
(By Delegates Boggs, D. Campbell, Fragale, Diserio, Marcum, Moore, R. Phillips and White)
[Introduced January 30, 2012; referred to the
Committee on the Judiciary.]
A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new section, designated §31-2-17, relating to prohibiting the unauthorized sale of railroad scrap metal.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated §31-2-17, to read as follows:
ARTICLE 2. RAILROAD COMPANIES.
§31-2-17. Selling railroad scrap material.
(a) No officer, agent, or employee of a company operating a railroad, except the duly authorized employee or officer of the company, may sell or dispose of worn or scrap metal, iron, brass or other metal owned by such company. All sales and barter of such scraps or other metals made by any other officer, agent or employee are void. No such duly authorized employee or officer may sell or dispose of such scrap or other metals in quantities less than one ton, nor without delivering to the purchaser a bill of sale of such metal, a copy of which shall be retained and filed in the office of such duly authorized employee or officer. If a duly authorized employee or officer of a railroad company sells or disposes of railroad scrap metal in quantities less than one ton, or without delivering a bill of sale of such metal to the purchaser, the company which he or she represents shall not thereafter be entitled to the benefit of paragraphs (b) and ©.
(b) The person, company, or firm to whom is offered for sale, pledge, or trade, worn or used links, pins, journal bearings, or other worn, used, or detached appendages of railroad equipment, or scrap metal of iron, brass, or steel appertaining to such equipment or to a railroad track, before purchasing or dealing in it, shall ascertain whether the ownership thereof is lawfully derived, by bill of sale or otherwise, from a company, or the duly authorized employee or officer of the company. When the right or title to such article of metal is drawn in question in any suit, the person, company, or firm dealing in such metal, or its assignee, party thereto, must make prima facie proof of title and ownership so derived. If it appears, prima facie, from the evidence on the trial that any of the articles or metals in controversy were unlawfully obtained, and mixed or confused with other scrap metal, it shall be deemed a confusion of goods unless the party claiming against the title of the company establishes, prima facie, a lawful title from or through a railroad company to the residue.
© By its proper officer or agent, or by the receiver of such company, a railroad company may claim to be the general owner of and maintain an action of detinue to recover any of the metals or articles mentioned in paragraph (b), and metals with which they may have been confused, found in the possession of a person, firm, or company, when there is good reason to believe that such metals or articles were unlawfully taken from such company or its receiver. Instead of the usual averment as to ownership in the action of detinue, it is sufficient for the officer, agent, or receiver of such railroad company to aver that he or she believes such metals or articles were unlawfully taken from such company or some other company. The person, firm or company claiming the right or title to such metals or articles in such action, prima facie shall prove a right or title to them, lawfully derived. In the absence of such proof, the railroad company or receiver claiming such metals or articles shall be held to be the general owner of them, but any other company or receiver, upon showing that part of such metals or articles unlawfully were taken from it or him or her, shall be entitled to such part upon payment of a proper share of the cost and expenses of recovering it through detinue.
(d) If a railroad company or its receiver recovers property under paragraph © without reasonable cause to believe that it was unlawfully taken from some company or its receiver, such company or receiver shall be liable to the party entitled to such property in any sum not exceeding double the value of the property so recovered, in addition to such damages as such party sustains thereby.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to prohibit the unauthorized sale of railroad scrap metal.
§31-2-17 is new; therefore, it has been completely underscored.