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United States v. 412.93 Acres of Land

decided: February 8, 1972.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, APPELLEE,
v.
412.93 ACRES OF LAND, MORE OR LESS, SITUATE IN FRANKLIN AND TOWAMENSING TOWNSHIPS, CARBON COUNTY, STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA, TRACT NO. 113, PERCY AND MABEL CAMPBELL, TRACT NO. 114, GEORGE AND ANNE SCHILD, APPELLANTS. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, APPELLEE, V. 63.85 ACRES OF LAND, MORE OR LESS, SITUATE IN FRANKLIN AND TOWAMENSING TOWNSHIPS, CARBON COUNTY, STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA, TRACT NO. 618, HECTOR AND JANET MCFARQUHAR, TRACT NO. 637, SUSIE E. LAWRENCE, APPELLANTS. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, APPELLEE, V. 195.11 ACRES OF LAND, MORE OR LESS, SITUATE IN FRANKLIN AND TOWAMENSING TOWNSHIPS, CARBON COUNTY, STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA, TRACT NO. 621, JOHN F., JR., AND LOUISE S. STINE, APPELLANTS



Hastie, Aldisert and James Rosen, Circuit Judges.

Author: Per Curiam

Opinion OF THE COURT

These are appeals from judgments entered in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania from jury verdicts determining just compensation in eminent domain proceedings instituted by the United States.

The Government brought these consolidated condemnation proceedings on behalf of the Corps of Engineers of the Department of the Army to acquire fee simple title to the properties owned by the appellants in connection with the construction of the Beltzville Dam and Reservoir in Carbon County, Pennsylvania.

The Campbell*fn1 and Schild*fn2 cases were tried together in a jury trial which commenced on October 28, 1968 and concluded on October 30, 1968. In these proceedings two other landowners, Wentz and Geiling, were party defendants, but they did not appeal from the jury verdicts.

The McFarquhar*fn3 and Lawrence*fn4 trial was commenced on October 31, 1968 and concluded on November 1, 1968. Another landowner, Miller, was included as a party defendant, but he did not appeal.

In the third jury trial, which commenced on April 28, 1969 and concluded on April 30, 1969, property owner, Stine*fn5, and another landowner, Battey, were named defendants. Battey did not appeal.

Prior to the trial the landowners moved for individual and separate trials for each tract of condemned land. They also sought to depose the Government's appraiser and expert witness, Clifford L. Orbaker. Finally, at the trial, the landowners proposed to cross-examine Orbaker as to his employment contract with the Government. The trial judge ruled against the landowners on all three issues.*fn6

A summary of the evidence and jury verdicts relative to the properties condemned is as follows:

Landowner and Landowner's

Description Testimony

Campbell Landowner

Tract 113 $34,000 -- $35,000

1 1/2-story frame dwell- (II App. 76, 81)

ing, shed, barn and out- V. McFadden (appraiser)

building on 6.38 acres $25,000

(II App. 91)

J. Nash (appraiser)

$26,500

(II App. 107)

Schild Landowner

Tract 114 $25,000

1 1/2-story cabin, shed, (II App. 125)

outhouse and chicken J. J. Lavelle (appraiser)

house on 2.04 acres $12,500

(II App. 132)

V. McFadden ...


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