Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in case of Stella Pothos v. Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh, No. 18 July Term, 1973.
Richard W. Kelly, with him John T. Richards, and Richards & Kelly, for appellant.
Howard M. Louik, with him William P. Bresnahan, for appellee.
Judges Crumlish, Jr., Wilkinson, Jr. and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Wilkinson, Jr.
[ 30 Pa. Commw. Page 373]
The facts of this case are not in dispute. On April 2, 1973, the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (Authority) filed a declaration of taking condemning appellee's property which is located at 201 Anderson Street, in the City of Pittsburgh. Two months later, the Authority filed a declaration of relinquishment with regard to appellee's property, and thereby, title was revested in appellee. On February 4, 1974, the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County referred the case to a Board of Viewers (Board), pursuant to Section 408 of the Eminent Domain Code, Act of June 22, 1964, Special Sess., P.L. 84, as amended, 26 P.S. § 1-408, for a determination of damages caused by the condemnation proceedings. The Board issued a report of viewers on July 9, 1975, which allowed appellee reimbursement of appraisal
[ 30 Pa. Commw. Page 374]
and attorney's fees in the amount of $7,575.00. The Board further stated in its report that appellee had attempted to present testimony regarding diminution of market value to the subject property caused by the condemnation proceedings, between the date of the declaration of taking and the date of the relinquishment. The Board, however, refused to hear such testimony, believing diminution of market value damages not to be encompassed by Section 408. Appeal was taken to the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, which ordered a remand of the case to the Board for its consideration of diminution of value damages to the subject property. This appeal followed.
This case presents the question of whether a condemnor must reimburse a condemnee under Section 408 for damages in the nature of diminution in the market value of the subject property resulting from the condemnation proceedings. The lower court found that such damages were within the scope of Section 408. We disagree and reverse.
Our research has not revealed, nor have the parties cited a case in this Commonwealth that has reached the issue before us.*fn1
Since the amendment of December 29, 1971, P.L. 635, Section 408 reads in pertinent part:
Where condemned property is relinquished the condemnee shall be reimbursed by the condemnor for reasonable appraisal, attorney and engineering fees and other costs and expenses actually incurred because of the condemnation proceedings. Such damages ...