Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Lancaster County in case of Wabank Real Estate and Investment Company, Inc. and Samuel Miller & Son, Inc. v. Redevelopment Authority of the City of Lancaster, No. 1 June Term, 1974.
William M. Musser, Jr., with him Rengier, Musser & Stengel, for appellant.
John W. Beyer, with him Arnold, Beyer, Reese & Gruber, for appellee.
Judges Wilkinson, Jr., Rogers and DiSalle, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Wilkinson, Jr. Dissenting Opinion by Judge DiSalle.
The Redevelopment Authority of the City of Lancaster (Authority) appeals an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Lancaster County dated December 17, 1976 remanding a report from the Board of Viewers (Board) in an eminent domain proceeding.
On June 3, 1974 the Authority filed a declaration of taking against four properties owned by Wabank Real Estate and Investment Company, Inc. and leased to the appellee herein, Miller & Son, Inc. At the time of condemnation appellee operated a barrel reconditioning business which it subsequently relocated to a new site in Lancaster, removing part of its equipment from the condemned properties to the new location. During a hearing before the Board appellee introduced evidence of moving costs, expenses to modify the new location and related costs. The Board, which found these costs to be "carefully documented," determined that the sum of these costs would exceed $800,000. The Authority introduced evidence that the total in-place value of the machinery was $180,990 of which property valued at $34,065 had been moved by appellee to its new location. On August 25, 1976 the Board filed an award of $94,800 for the real estate and $183,425 for dislocation of business damages and moving expenses. On appeal by appellee (the award for the real estate was not contested) the lower court held that the Assembled Economic Unit Doctrine is not applicable where an award is made pursuant to Section 601A of the Eminent Domain Code*fn1 (Code) and that evidence of the in-place value of the machinery or the value of appellee's property as an Assembled
Economic Unit is not relevant or admissible in determining damages when machinery or equipment has been moved. We affirm.
Preliminarily we must consider appellee's motion to quash this appeal on the ground that the order of the court below was not a final order within the meaning of Section 517 of the Code, 26 P.S. § 1-517, because that section does not include as final orders those which the court refers back to the same or other viewers.
We agree with appellee that the general rule is that remand orders are interlocutory and therefore not appealable. See Trasoff v. Philadelphia, 337 Pa. 223, 11 A.2d 139 (1940); Kellman Trust Fund v. Department of Transportation, 24 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 102, 354 A.2d 583 (1976). However, where the remand order settles for all intents and purposes the questioned issue of law between the parties, our Courts have engrafted an exception to the general rule and have entertained appeals from remand orders. See Dacar Chemical Products Co. v. Allegheny County Redevelopment Authority, 425 Pa. 343, 228 A.2d 778 (1967); Department of Transportation v. Kastner, 13 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 525, 320 A.2d 146 (1974), cert. denied, 419 U.S. 1109 (1975). In distinguishing the procedural posture of that case from others involving remand orders, the Court in Dacar, supra, stated, "In the present matter, the very dispute concerns which law is to be applied and the issue before us is clearly justiciable." Id. at 347-48, 228 A.2d at 780.
In this case, the lower court issued an order which remanded the case back to the Board with specific instructions regarding the application of Section 601A. In our view, the court's opinion as to the interpretation of Section 601A has placed this case in a situation analogous to that in Dacar, ...