Alabama Supreme Court Holds that Exxon is Not Liable For Post-Judgment Interest on Declaratory Judgment Because the Judgment Was Not a Money Judgment

In Exxon Mobil Corp. v. State Dep’t. of Conservation and Natural Res., No. 1070716, released December 12, 2008, the Alabama Supreme Court held that a judgment ordering Exxon to compute royalties “according to the leases as interpreted by the jury,” was not a money judgment and therefore not subject to postjudgment interest.  

 

On remand following this opinion, the State and Exxon largely agreed as to the amounts owed by Exxon. They did not reach agreement, however, as to pre- and postjudgment interest.

The State argued that it was entitled, pursuant to §8-8-10 of the Alabama Code to postjudgment interest on the trial court’s December 5, 2003 judgment. That judgment simply ordered Exxon to compute future royalties “according to the leases as interpreted by the jury.” It did not adjudicate or fix an amount of future royalties owed the State by Exxon and therefore did not constitute a “money judgment.” As §8-8-10 applies only when the judgment is one for the payment of money, Bank Independent v. Coats, 621 So.2d 951 (Ala. 1993), the State was not entitled to postjudgment interest on the December 5, 2003 judgment.