Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County in case of Irwin Lieberman and Lillie Lieberman (Tenants) v. Redevelopment Authority, City of Philadelphia, No. 6291 January Term, 1969.
Frances J. Moran, with him Leon Katz, for appellant.
Germaine Ingram, with her Austin Norris and Norris, Hutton and Wells, for appellees.
President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt. Opinion by Judge Rogers.
The Redevelopment Authority of the City of Philadelphia here appeals a judgment entered against it in a condemnation case tried below by a judge without a jury.
The appellees, Irwin and Lillie Lieberman, conducted a taproom business in a premises owned by others located in center-city Philadelphia. The last written lease under which they occupied the premises was for a term of five years from November 1, 1961 with an option to renew for a further term of three years. The lease included a clause providing for its termination upon condemnation of the demised premises by any government agency. The Redevelopment Authority condemned the property on January 30, 1969, a date, as appears, nine months in advance of the termination of the Liebermans' optional three year term. The Liebermans were evicted by the Authority on June 1, 1969.
The parties, before any litigation, settled on a list of machinery, equipment and fixtures in the premises belonging to the Liebermans for the taking of which they were entitled to compensation by Section 603(3) of the Eminent Domain Code, Act of June 22, 1964, P.L. 84, 26 P.S. § 1-603(3). The proceedings below were informal in the extreme and more nearly resembled settlement negotiations than a trial of the issues. It is nevertheless clear that the Liebermans did not claim damages for the destruction of their leasehold. Nor, under Pennsylvania law were they entitled to such in the presence of the provision of the lease effecting its termination upon condemnation. Scholl's Appeal, 292 Pa. 262, 141 A. 44 (1928). It is equally clear that the Liebermans did, however, from the outset claim compensation for injury to their liquor license and for business dislocation damages.
At the trial, the Liebermans' only witness was Irwin Lieberman. He testified as to his opinion of the value not only of the machinery, equipment and fixtures but also, over objection, of the liquor license, which latter he stated was worth $35,000 to $40,000 before condemnation but was valueless thereafter because
a transferee who would pay anything for it could not be found. Mr. Lieberman was also permitted to state the amounts of oral offers for the business made in 1961 by persons now dead or otherwise unavailable and the amount of the net profits of the business. Some of this testimony was elicited by questions of the trial judge and little, if any, of it was objected to, although the number of interruptions and the ...