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REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY v. YEE KAI TEUNG (03/30/72)

decided: March 30, 1972.

REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY
v.
YEE KAI TEUNG



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Cambria County in case of Redevelopment Authority of the City of Johnstown v. Yee Kai Teung, No. 825 September Term, 1969.

COUNSEL

Gilbert E. Caroff, for appellant.

Morton Meyers, with him Marlin B. Stephens, for appellee.

Judges Kramer, Mencer and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Blatt.

Author: Blatt

[ 5 Pa. Commw. Page 66]

The appellant Authority (hereinafter "condemnor") has been engaged in condemning certain properties in the First Ward of the City of Johnstown in order to carry out its Market Street West Urban Renewal Project. The property of the appellee (hereinafter "condemnee") was located in this area, and consisted of 999 square feet of land occupied by a three-story frame building. Half of the basement and half of the first floor were used by a tenant as a sandwich shop and for the manufacture of candy. The other half of the first floor and basement were used by the condemnee as a laundry, while the upper two floors were used for the storage of laundry equipment and supplies and as living quarters by the condemnee and his family. Numerous fixtures used in the laundry business were installed on the premises.

An eminent domain action against the condemnee's property was properly commenced by the filing of a Declaration of Taking by the condemnor. When the condemnee refused to accept the amount offered as just compensation, the condemnor requested that a rule for possession issue. The rule was issued and an answer was filed thereto by the condemnee. After a hearing, the court entered an order dismissing the rule on the ground that the condemnor had not offered just compensation, holding that it should have used the Assembled Industrial Plant Doctrine in arriving at the estimated value. Exceptions were filed to the court's findings but were subsequently withdrawn. Condemnor thereafter offered a higher estimate of value, this time based upon the Assembled Industrial Plant Doctrine, and, upon payment into court of the amount tendered, the rule for possession was made absolute.

[ 5 Pa. Commw. Page 67]

The case was heard by the Board of Viewers, which entered an award of $50,712.16 for general damages and of $500.00 for special damages. The condemnee appealed the award, and a jury verdict was subsequently entered awarding the condemnee $68,000.00 in general damages and $5,000.00 in relocation damages. The condemnor then moved for a new trial on the ground that the verdict was excessive. The condemnee had himself estimated the value of the property to be $132,000.00, and his two appraisers had presented figures of $94,700.00 and $98,000.00 respectively, while the condemnor's appraiser testified to a value of $40,000.00. The motion for a new trial was denied by the Court of Common Pleas of Cambria County sitting en banc, and an appeal was brought by the condemnor to this Court.

The condemnor has raised a number of grounds on which it is argued that a new trial should be granted:

(a) That the lower court should never have applied either the Assembled Industrial Plant Doctrine or the Assembled Economic Unit Doctrine in ascertaining the value of condemnee's property, because the fixtures involved are not functional in relationship to the entire building;

(b) That, if the Assembled Economic Unit Doctrine is applicable, business dislocation damages ...


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