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SAMS v. REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY (08/15/68)

decided: August 15, 1968.

SAMS
v.
REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY, APPELLANT



Appeal from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Westmoreland County, July T., 1964, No. 281, in case of William Sams and Samuel Mannarino, individually, and William Sams et al. v. Redevelopment Authority of the City of New Kensington.

COUNSEL

Thomas W. Corbett, with him Aaron M. Kress, for appellant.

John N. Scales, with him Scales and Shaw, for appellees.

Bell, C. J., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien and Roberts, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Cohen. Mr. Justice Eagen dissents.

Author: Cohen

[ 431 Pa. Page 242]

In the exercise of its power of eminent domain, appellant, Redevelopment Authority of the City of New Kensington, adopted a resolution condemning a certain parcel of land situate in New Kensington. The parcel of land condemned was individually owned by appellees, William Sams and Samuel Mannarino and was situate on the west side of North Third Avenue. On February 17, 1964, the date of taking, the condemned parcel was being used as a yard for the receipt, salvaging, bailing and shipping of scrap metal.

At the time of the taking, the individual appellees owned another parcel of land located on the opposite or easterly side of North Third Avenue. This parcel was separated from the condemned parcel by both a public street and railroad. The uncondemned parcel at the time of the taking was being used as a foundry operated by New Kensington Sales and Rentals, Inc.

The board of viewers awarded damages in the amount of $350,000 to the appellees individually, and as co-partners, trading and doing business as Ken Iron and Steel Company. The board in assessing damages treated the two noncontiguous parcels as a unit.

Appellant appealed to the Court of Common Pleas of Westmoreland County. The jury returned a verdict in favor of appellees in the amount of $200,000 and in accordance with instructions given by the trial judge answered "yes" to the question, "Have you allowed damages for Parcel B, the foundry building, in your verdict?"

Appellant filed its motion for a new trial on the grounds that it was error to admit evidence concerning the foundry property, and the unity of use between

[ 431 Pa. Page 243]

    the scrap yard and the foundry, when as a matter of law there could be no unity of use. The court below denied the motion for a new trial and entered judgment for appellees. This appeal followed.

In order for damages to be assessed as if two or more noncontiguous tracts of land were one parcel, it is necessary to demonstrate that the noncontiguous tracts are owned by one owner and are used together for a unified purpose (unity of use). Eminent ...


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