Senate Bill No. 360
(By Senators Green, Beach and Klempa)
[Introduced January 31, 2011; referred to the Committee on Energy, Industry and Mining; then to the Committee on the Judiciary; and then to the Committee on Finance.]
A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new section, designated §22-3-33, relating to the award of attorney fees by the Surface Mine Board.
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 §22-3-33, to read as follows:
ARTICLE 3. SURFACE COAL MINING AND RECLAMATION ACT.
§22-3-33. Attorney fees and costs.
(a) As a result of any administrative proceeding under this act, at the request of any person, a sum equal to the aggregate amount of all costs and expenses, including attorney fees, as determined by the circuit court or the surface mine board to have been reasonably incurred by the requesting person for or in connection with his or her participation in the administrative proceeding, including any judicial review of agency actions, may be assessed against either party as the court, resulting from judicial review or the surface mine board, resulting from administrative proceedings, deems proper.
(b) On a finding that a claim was brought in bad faith or for the purposes of harassment, the surface mine board or the court, whichever is appropriate, may award to the defendant or respondent, however designated, reasonable attorney fees, court costs, and fees.
(c) The secretary shall propose legislative rules for legislative approval in accordance with the provisions of article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code necessary to implement the provisions of this section.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to deal with the award of attorney fees by the Surface Mine Board.
This section is new; therefore, strike-throughs and underscoring have been omitted.