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UNITED STATES v. CERTAIN PARCELS OF LAND

January 31, 1952

UNITED STATES
v.
CERTAIN PARCELS OF LAND IN POTTER TP., BEAVER COUNTY, PA., et al.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: GOURLEY

This matter comes before the Court on a Rule to Show Cause why the McCrady-Rodgers Company should not be permitted to become a party defendant and secure certain relief in the way of additional compensation and damages as a subsequent title holder to property condemned by the United States.

Pursuant to the request of the Commissioner of the Federal Public Housing Authority, based on findings of the President of the United States that an acute shortage of housing existed in the area or locality in and about the Township of Potter, County of Beaver, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, proceedings were instituted on March 25, 1943, to acquire an interest in the subject lands.

 The proceedings were commenced under the authority of the Act of August 1, 1888, 25 Stat. 357, U.S.C.A., tit. 40, Sec. 257; the Act of February 26, 1931, 46 Stat. 1421, U.S.C.A., tit. 40, Secs. 258a to 258e; the Act of October 14, 1940, Public No. 849, 76th Congress, as amended, 42 U.S.C.A. § 1521 et seq.; and Executive Order No. 9070, dated February 24, 1942, 50 U.S.C.A.Appendix, § 601 note; the Second War Powers Act, Public No. 507, 77th Congress, 50 U.S.C.A.Appendix, § 633 et seq.; Executive Order No. 9150, dated April 28, 1942, funds appropriated by the Act of October 14, 1940, Public Resolution 106, 76th Congress, and Acts supplementary thereto and amendatory thereof.

 By declaration of taking filed May 3, 1943, the estate acquired for public use was the exclusive use of the lands for a period of one year, with the right to renew from year to year for the duration of the existing national emergency as determined by the President, and three years thereafter, upon the same terms and conditions.

 On or about June 15, 1949, the McCrady-Rodgers Company purchased the involved property from the John Boles Estate. On December 8, 1949, the Government and the Boles Estate stipulated for judgment of just compensation. The McCrady-Rodgers Company consented to the compensation as set forth in the stipulation as binding upon them only to and including July 24, 1950.

 On December 9, 1949, the Government filed an amendment to the declaration of taking. The estate taken was amended to read as follows, the words added being set out in brackets: ' * * * for the duration of the existing national emergency, as determined by the President, and three years thereafter, (or for so long as determined necessary by the Administrator pursuant to the provisions of Section 313 of Public Law 849, 76th Congress (54 Stat. 1125), as amended, whichever period is greater,) * * * .'

 It is not in dispute that the petitioner, McCrady-Rodgers, acquired fee simple title to the real estate involved in the original taking prior to the Government's amendment to the declaration of taking. It was furthermore provided in the amendment to the declaration of taking that a copy of said proceeding be served upon the parties in interest, which necessarily included the petitioner as the actual title holder to the real estate.

 There is authority to the effect that where a person seeking to intervene in a condemnation proceeding could not properly have been made a defendant, intervention as a matter of right did not exist but, at best, was permissive and within sound discretion of the court. United States v. 1,830.62 Acres of Land in Botetourt County et al., D.C., 51 F.Supp. 158.

 As I read this opinion, the conclusion reached is based on the general sound discretion of the Court rather than the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

 However, the Rules of Civil Procedure are not applicable to proceedings in condemnation except on appeal. United States v. 1,830.62 Acres of Land in Botetourt County et al., supra; United States v. Certain Land in City of Poughkeepsie, Dutchess County, New York, D.C., 71 F.Supp. 363; Rules 24(a) and 81(a)(7), Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, 28 U.S.C.A.

 Were the Rules of Civil Procedure binding to this proceeding, I would conclude that such intervention should be granted both in conformity with Rule 24(a) authorizing intervention as a matter of right, and Rule 24(b) providing for permissive intervention. Since, however, Rule 81(a)(7) precludes this Court from giving affect to said rules in condemnation proceedings, the authority of this Court to grant intervention is premised upon its sound discretion.

 As a matter of justice and thorough administration of the law, where all the persons interested have not been made parties to the proceeding, the court may allow them to intervene or be made parties. United States ex rel. and for Use of Tennessee Valley Authority v. Powelson et al., 4 Cir., 118 F.2d 79; 29 C.J.S.,Eminent Domain, sec. 237.

 The declaration of taking, the deposit of the estimated just compensation in the registry of the Court, the fixing of title, the determination of just compensation in accordance with state procedure as directed by Federal law, and the ultimate distribution of the just compensation to those determined to be legally entitled thereto is one continuous integrated process of litigation. United States v. 17,280 Acres of Land, etc., D.C., 47 F.Supp. 267.

 The allowance of intervention by one who claims an interest in the condemnation fund or who will be adversely affected by its distribution is only one of the steps in the attainment of the ultimate objective of the litigation.

 The petition for intervention claims additional compensation and damages, and consequently an interest in the condemnation fund in the registry of the court. It follows that the court has jurisdiction of the subject matter and of the parties even though the Rules of Federal Procedure do not apply. Hopkins v. McClure, 10 Cir., 148 F.2d 67; ...


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