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ABRAMS v. REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY CITY PHILADELPHIA (08/25/78)

COMMONWEALTH COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA


decided: August 25, 1978.

ABRAMS, INC., APPELLANT
v.
THE REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY OF THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, APPELLEE

Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in case of Abrams, Inc. v. The Redevelopment Authority of the City of Philadelphia, No. 4565 July Term, 1970.

COUNSEL

Herbert S. Levin, with him Fox, Rothschild, O'Brien & Frankel, for appellant.

Francis J. Moran, with him Peter A. Galante, for appellee.

Judges Wilkinson, Jr., Blatt and DiSalle, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Blatt.

Author: Blatt

[ 37 Pa. Commw. Page 344]

The Appellant, Abrams, Inc. (Abrams), appeals here from a denial of a motion for a new trial in an eminent domain proceeding where a verdict of $190,000 was rendered in its favor.

The Abrams' property was condemned by the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Philadelphia (Authority) in 1971. The Board of View, after a hearing, awarded damages to Abrams in the amount of $425,000. Abrams appealed and after a trial in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, the jury returned a verdict of $190,000. Abrams filed a motion for a new trial which was denied, and this appeal followed.

Our scope of review is limited, for the denial of a motion for a new trial in a condemnation case which is made on the ground of inadequacy of the verdict will not be disturbed on appeal unless it is indicative of a clear and manifest abuse of discretion or unless it is demonstrated that the verdict was unconscionable or shocking to the appellate court's sense of justice.

[ 37 Pa. Commw. Page 345]

The statement in this case included an estimate of the value as of the date of taking and we agree that it was in complete compliance with Section 703(2) of the Eminent Domain Code.

Abrams also argues that the court should have granted a new trial because the jury verdict of $190,000 was inadequate, capricious, and against the weight of the evidence. In support of this contention, Abrams maintains that the valuation of $190,000 made by the experts testifying for the Authority was mathematically incorrect and incredible. Abrams points out further that its own experts' valuation, using both the cost reproduction approach and comparable sales approach, was $660,000 while the award by the Board of View was for $425,000. Although a discrepancy between the award of the Board and that of the jury is an appropriate factor for consideration on appeal, we have previously held that such a discrepancy does not, in itself, warrant the grant of a new trial. Bosniak v. Redevelopment Authority of Philadelphia, 20 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 291, 341 A.2d 260 (1975). See Tinicum Real Estate v. Department of Transportation, Pa. , 389 A.2d 1034 (1978). And, relative to the alleged incredibility of the Authority's expert witnesses, we note that Abrams had the opportunity to point out any of their alleged mathematical errors or incredibilities through cross-examination. It is the function of the jury to determine, of course, the credibility of and to resolve discrepancies in the testimony of expert witnesses. Commonwealth v. Herold,

[ 37 Pa. Commw. Page 34717]

Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 148, 330 A.2d 890 (1975); Lewis v. Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh, 5 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 176, 289 A.2d 774 (1972).

We cannot find that the verdict was inadequate, capricious or against the weight of the evidence.

Nor do we believe that the refusal of the lower court to grant a new trial was an abuse of discretion on its part or unconscionable and shocking to an appellate court's sense of justice. The order of the lower court, therefore, is affirmed.

Order

And Now, this 25th day of August, 1978, the order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, July Term 1970, No. 4565, dated August 9, 1976, refusing the motion for new trial by Abrams, Inc., is hereby affirmed.

Disposition

Affirmed.


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