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RICHARD M. HUGHES v. REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY CITY WILKES-BARRE (05/23/79)

decided: May 23, 1979.

RICHARD M. HUGHES, II, TRUSTEE ET AL., APPELLANTS
v.
REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY OF THE CITY OF WILKES-BARRE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Luzerne County in case of Richard M. Hughes, II, Trustee; Frank Townend, Trustee; R. Lawrence Coughlin, Trustee; Elizabeth L. Henn; Joan Laird; Clarence D. Coughlin; Estate of Gertrude B. Laird; Louise B. Hughes; Triangle Shoes; or any other person or persons found to have an interest in the property v. Redevelopment Authority of the City of Wilkes-Barre, No. 9603 of 1973.

COUNSEL

Frank Townend, for appellants.

Hugh F. Mundy, with him Donald D. McFadden, for appellee.

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

Author: Wilkinson

[ 43 Pa. Commw. Page 41]

In this appeal plaintiffs (appellants) seek review of a decision by the Court of Common Pleas of Luzerne County denying their motion for a new trial following an award of $55,000 by a jury for real estate taken by the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Wilkes-Barre (Authority) by power of eminent domain. We affirm.

The subject property, having a front footage of 25 feet on South Main Street and a depth of about 225 feet, had constructed on it a one-story masonry building utilized at all relevant times as a shoe store. By its declaration of taking, filed December 20, 1973, the Authority condemned the property for purposes of urban redevelopment. The building at the time of taking was substantially damaged as a result of a fire on July 10, 1973. Approximately four months before the fire the building had undergone repairs necessitated by flood damage resulting from hurricane Agnes on June 23, 1972.

Following appeals by both sides from the award of the Board of View, a jury on October 28, 1976

[ 43 Pa. Commw. Page 42]

    awarded damages of $55,000. In response to the lower court's request for special findings, the jury indicated that its award included no amount for machinery, equipment and fixtures. On denial of appellants' motion for a new trial this appeal was taken.

Fulfilling a constitutional mandate, Section 601 of the Eminent Domain Code (Code), Act of June 22, 1964, Special Sess., P.L. 84, as amended, 26 P.S. § 1-601 directs that a "condemnee shall be entitled to just compensation for the taking, injury or destruction of his property. . . ." Section 602(a) of the Code, 26 P.S. § 1-602(a) in turn defines "just compensation"

[as] the difference between the fair market value of the condemnee's entire property interest immediately before the condemnation and as unaffected thereby and the fair market value of his property interest remaining immediately after such condemnation and as affected thereby, and such other damages as are provided in this code.

The dispute in this case over the proper measure of damages centers initially on the jury's failure to include in its award any monies for machinery, equipment and fixtures*fn1 situated on the condemned premises. The Code, in Section 603(3), 26 P.S. § 1-603(3) provides that consideration be given in the determination of fair market value to ...


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