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FRONTAGE v. ALLEGHENY COUNTY. (06/03/60)

June 3, 1960

FRONTAGE, INC., APPELLANT,
v.
ALLEGHENY COUNTY.



Appeals, Nos. 83 and 84, March T., 1960, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, July T., 1958, Nos. 879 and 1333, in case of Frontage, Inc. v. County of Allegheny. Judgment reversed.

COUNSEL

Alexander Unkovic, with him William G. Boyle, Edward P. Good, and Kountz, Fry & Meyer, for appellant.

Francis A. Barry, First Assistant County Solicitor, with him Maurice Louik, County Solicitor, for appellee.

Before Jones, C.j., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Bok and Eagen, JJ.

Author: Cohen

[ 400 Pa. Page 252]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE COHEN.

This is an appeal from the judgment of the court of common pleas awarding the appellant, Frontage, Inc., $9,523.43 in a condemnation proceeding.

On November 8, 1956, the Board of County Commissioners of Allegheny County condemned in fee simple certain property owned by Frontage, Inc., situated in Moon Township, for the purpose of establishing and maintaining thereon air navigation and terminal facilities. Said property consisted of 8.859 acres, immediately adjacent to the parking lot of the Greater Pittsburgh Airport, having on one side a road frontage on the Airport Parkway of 1080.29 feet and also having on the opposite side a frontage of 988.30 feet on an improved highway, Coraopolis and Stevensons Mill Road. The average depth of the property between the two roads is in excess of 300 feet. The only building on the property was a two-story frame garage.

Viewers were appointed and awarded damages to Frontage, Inc., in the sum of $13,150 from which award both parties appealed to the lower court.

The two experts for appellant gave their opinions of the fair market value of the property at the time of

[ 400 Pa. Page 253]

    taking as $50,000 and $58,000. The experts for the appellee County of Allegheny gave their opinions as $7,500 and $7,800 at the time of taking. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Frontage, Inc., in the amount of $9,523.43. This amount apparently included detention damages at three percent interest. Appellant filed a motion for a new trial which was denied by the court en banc. Judgment was thereupon entered on the verdict and this appeal followed.

Appellant sets forth several reasons why the court below should have granted a new trial. It contends initially that the trial court erred in permitting cross-examination of appellant's witnesses concerning a separate action in the United States District Court and then compounded this error by refusing to permit redirect examination by the appellant of these same witnesses in order to clarify the matter. It contends further that the court committed error in its charge to the jury concerning the rate of interest for detention damages and in its characterization of expert witnesses; that considering the disparity between the awards of the viewers and the jury and the court's confusing instructions to the jury, ...


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