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REDNOR & KLINE v. DEPARTMENT HIGHWAYS. (01/07/64)

January 7, 1964

REDNOR & KLINE, INC., APPELLANT,
v.
DEPARTMENT OF HIGHWAYS.



Appeal, No. 43, Jan. T., 1963, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County, Sept. T., 1960, No. 243, in case of Rednor & Kline, Inc., Jacob Rednor and Harry Kline et al. v. Department of Highways, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

Joseph J. Zapitz, with him Curtin & Heefner, for appellants.

William R. Mosolino, Assistant Attorney General, with him Michael R. Deckman, Assistant Attorney General, John R. Rezzolla, Jr., Chief Counsel, and Walter E. Alessandroni, Attorney General, for Department of Highways, appellee.

Before Bell, C.j., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, O'brien and Roberts, JJ.

Author: Bell

[ 413 Pa. Page 121]

OPINION BY MR. CHIEF JUSTICE BELL

On January 11, 1952, the individual appellants, Rednor and Kline, trading as Rednor & Kline, were the owners of a 30-acre tract of land in Falls Township, Bucks County. On that day, the Department of Highways condemned for the construction of a new highway, approximately 3 1/4 acres out of the owners' total 30-acre property. Thereafter, on December 29, 1954, the individual appellants conveyed the premises and assigned their right to an award in condemnation proceedings to Rednor & Kline, Inc., the corporate appellant. Rednor & Kline, Inc. is a very small closely held corporation which is managed by four persons*fn* - two fathers and two sons.

Proceedings to collect damages for the taking were initiated before a Jury of View. The record before us does not disclose who initiated these proceedings or in whose favor the jury ultimately made an award of $10,600. The present proceedings, an appeal to the Quarter Sessions Court, which that Court certified to the Common Pleas Court for the purposes of trial, were initiated by both Rednor and Kline, the owners at the time of the taking, and their assignee, the corporation.

The law is clear that the only person entitled to recover damages for a condemnation in eminent domain proceedings is the person who was the owner at the time of the taking. Smith v. Commonwealth, 351 Pa. 68, 70, 40 A.2d 383; Lakewood Memorial Gardens Appeal, 381 Pa. 46, 54, 112 A.2d 135. Therefore, in these proceedings the claimants or plaintiffs should have been from the very start, Jacob Rednor and Harry Kline, individually and as co-partners, trading as Rednor & Kline, or those parties to the use of Rednor & Kline, Inc., a corporation.

[ 413 Pa. Page 122]

In the Opinion of the Court below, Judge FULLAM said: "... However, it is stipulated that all of the right, title and interest of the individuals and the partnership, both as to the remaining land and as to the condemnation proceeds, became vested in the corporate plaintiff in 1954, so that to all intents and purposes there is only one plaintiff, Rednor & Kline, Inc."

Since no objection has been made to this by the individual plaintiffs or by the Commonwealth, we intend the corporation whenever we refer to the plaintiff or the claimant or the owner or the appellant.

The trial before a jury in the Common Pleas Court resulted in favor of appellant in the amount of $6,000 - $5,000 of which was for the taking of the land and $1,000 of which was designated as "detention damages." From the Order of the Court below which dismissed ...


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