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MARTIN v. PENNSYLVANIA TURNPIKE COMMISSION. (03/14/55)

March 14, 1955

MARTIN, APPELLANT,
v.
PENNSYLVANIA TURNPIKE COMMISSION.



Appeal, No. 311, Jan. T., 1954, from order of Court of Common Pleas of Lancaster County, Trust Book No. 38, page 160, in case of Christian R. Martin v. Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. Order reversed.

COUNSEL

J. Marlin Shreiner, for appellant.

K. L. Shirk, Sr., with him Shirk & Shirk, for appellee.

Before Stern, C.j., Stearne, Jones, Bell, Chidsey and Musmanno, JJ.

Author: Musmanno

[ 381 Pa. Page 68]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE MUSMANNO

Christian R. Martin is a farmer who, on April 12, 1948, owned and possessed, in Brecknock and East

[ 381 Pa. Page 69]

Cocalico Townships, Lancaster County, 58 1/2 acres of land. On the day mentioned, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, extending its super-highway through the State, condemned 9 acres of Mr. Martin's farm and later offered him $3500 for a quitclaim deed to the land taken. On February 26, 1952, Martin received in the mail from the Turnpike Commission an option agreement providing for the payment of $3500 for the condemned parcel of land.

Fearing that he might suffer future damages because of the fact that the turnpike right-of-way encroached on land occupied by his farm, Mr. Martin inserted into the agreement the following provision: "UNDER AND SUBJECT TO: That the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission shall be liable to the said Christian Martin, his heirs and assigns, for any and all damages that may arise or be incurred hereafter to the barn built on the herein and above described premises, due to the fact that said barn as it now stands overlaps the Right-of-Way of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission by Two Inches on the Southwest corner thereof and five Feet on the Southeast corner thereof." He then affixed his signature to the paper and returned it to the Commission, where on March 17, 1952, it was apparently routinely signed without anyone noting the condition added by the property-owner. Several days later someone did discover the insertion and on March 27, 1952, Harry C. Pepper, Chief Counsel of Right-of-Way Division, wrote Martin, inter alia, as follows: "Enclosed herewith are two agreements of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission to be executed and acknowledged by you. The agreements which were executed by you prior to this were not acceptable to the Commission due to the fact that reservations added to the agreement were not the same used by the Commission in such cases. Therefore, we have added a reservation

[ 381 Pa. Page 70]

    of our own to the second page of these agreements, and we shall complete final settlement as quickly as possible."

Mr. Martin did not sign this second agreement nor any other agreement. Some communications were exchanged between the Commission and Mr. Martin, but no mutually satisfactory accord resulted from these negotiations. On November 27, 1953, the Commission petitioned the Corut of Common Pleas of Lancaster County to pay into Court the sum of $3500 for the purpose of settlement with Martin. A rule issued on him to show cause why the money should not be paid. Martin filed an Answer to the Petition, depositions were taken, and on May 14, 1954, the court made ...


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