Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County in case of Upper Merion Township Authority v. Horace P. Billings and Jean D. Billings, No. 74-11873.
Sydney H. Weiss, with him Weiss and Freeman, for appellants.
Parke H. Ulrich, with him Fox, Differ, Callahan, Ulrich & O'Hara, for appellee.
Judges Crumlish, Jr., Mencer and Rogers, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Crumlish, Jr.
[ 44 Pa. Commw. Page 623]
The Upper Merion Township Authority (Authority) condemned land titled to Horace P. and Jean D. Billings (Condemnees/Billings) for the installation of sewer pipes. Unable to agree on damages, a Board of View was empaneled which after a hearing found in favor of the Billings in the amount of $8,800, together with $500 counsel fees.*fn1 Billings appealed the
[ 44 Pa. Commw. Page 624]
award to the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas. A jury found for the Authority and against the Billings in the amount of $500, which was reduced by agreement.*fn2
Billings made motion for new trial, which was dismissed. Condemnees now contend that the dismissal was erroneous as was the assessment of transcript costs*fn3 against them on appeal.
In considering the merits of this appeal, we must limit the scope of review to a determination of whether the trial court abused its discretion or erred in the law; absent these findings we may not disturb the trial court judgment.
Billings first contend that the verdict is against the weight of the evidence. A new trial will not be granted where insufficient evidence is alleged unless the verdict is so contrary to the weight of the evidence that it shocks one's sense of justice. Commonwealth v. Harold, 17 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 148, 330 A.2d 890 (1975). In evaluating its sufficiency, the evidence must be considered in the light most favorable to the party prevailing below.
We are satisfied that the recorded evidence supports the jury's valuation. Mr. King, expert for the Authority, opined that the fair market value of the property prior to taking was $200,000 and that after the taking it was $205,000, yielding a net benefit to the property of $5,000. Mr. DeGrouchy, expert for the Billings, testified that the fair market value prior to ...