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REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY ALLEGHENY COUNTY v. MARY J. STEPANIK (06/05/78)

decided: June 5, 1978.

REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY OF ALLEGHENY COUNTY
v.
MARY J. STEPANIK, APPELLANT



No. 35 March Term, 1977, Appeal from the Order of the Commonwealth Court at No. 880 C.D. 1975, Reversing the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Civil Division, at No. 3452 January Term, 1973.

COUNSEL

Leonard M. Mendelson, Pittsburgh, for appellant.

William J. Fahey, P. Ronald Cooper, Redevelopment Authority of Allegheny County, Pittsburgh, for appellee.

Eagen, C. J., and O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix and Manderino, JJ. Packel, former Justice, did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case. Nix, J., concurs in the result. Manderino, J., filed a dissenting opinion.

Author: Roberts

[ 479 Pa. Page 200]

OPINION OF THE COURT

Appellant Mary Stepanik owned, but did not occupy, a residential apartment building renting living space to others. A board of viewers awarded appellant general damages of $23,000 under the Eminent Domain Code*fn1 for the taking of the building by appellee Redevelopment Authority of Allegheny County. The board of viewers also awarded appellant $10,000 of additional, special dislocation damages under Section 601-A(b)(3) of the Code, 26 P.S. § 1-601A(b)(3). Appellee appealed the board's award of $10,000 to the Court

[ 479 Pa. Page 201]

    of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, contending that the award violated a regulation of the Attorney General of Pennsylvania limiting the award of special dislocation damages to businesses conducted for the lease or rental of real property.*fn2 The court of common pleas affirmed the viewer's award of special dislocation damages and the Commonwealth Court reversed. We granted appellant's petition for allowance of appeal and affirm.*fn3

Section 201(8) of the Code, 26 P.S. § 1-201(8), defines "Displaced persons:"

"'Displaced person' means any condemnee or other person not illegally in occupancy of real property who moves or moves his personal property as a result of the acquisition . . . ."

Section 601-A(b)(3), 26 P.S. § 1-601A(b)(3), permits a displaced person "displaced from his place of business" to recover moving expenses and expenses of "removal, transportation, and reinstallation of personal property," § 601-A(a), 26 P.S. § 1-601A(a), and damages for losses of personal property, § 601-A(b), 26 P.S. § 1-601A(b).

"Displaced persons" may also recover special dislocation damages under Section 601-A(b)(3). These damages are calculated in one of two manners. "Owner-occupants" are entitled to the greater of forty times "fair monthly rental value" and average annual net earnings, in a sum no less that $2500 but no more than $10,000. "Tenants" may also recover these damages based upon actual monthly rent instead of "fair monthly rental value." Owner-occupants and tenants may recover this additional sum "only if the business (i) cannot be relocated without a substantial loss of its existing patronage, and (ii) is not part of a commercial

[ 479 Pa. Page 202]

    enterprise having at least one other establishment not being acquired by the acquiring agency, which is engaged in the same or similar ...


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